The project is located in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore between Robinson Road and Cross Street. The existing 24 storey office building is the property of one of Singapore’s largest property developers City Developments Limited (CDL) and it’s founder Kwek Leng Beng had the aspiration for a ‘jewel’ project to grace this site. This only served as an inspiration for the conceptual development and set the ‘design tone’ for this project and The criteria for the project was to replace the existing facade and to provide innovative solutions to update the internal spaces within the building.

The initial investigation was to firstly evaluate the optimisation of the existing site boundary. The building is currently setback from it’s building site line on the East and West facades by 7.5 metres. These voids provided a spatial opportunity to develop the building ‘outwards’ by using a new facade in addition to introducing large balcony areas that could be used as corporate space for meetings and entertainment. This approach would create spatial quality to the existing office spaces.

The design was developed further by articulating the facade as a ‘screen’ for shading from the intense solar gain that is local to Singapore throughout the year. We experimented with this by ‘banding’ the screening layer into varying horizontal strips and then opening them up where view points were required internally. A kind of ‘vacuum flask’ was created where this cavity space performed as cooling buffer. The screened strips were then displaced horizontally to generate a variety of spaces within this semi-open void. The building then took on the appearance of a more kinetic structure as the facade performed a vertical oscillation through the ‘hula-hoop’ screened facade.

The composition of this approach anchored and engaged you with the building more visually from the pavement perspective. Screening the internal facade allowed us to propose full height glazing at this location which would result in the diffusion of natural daylight throughout the internal spaces of the building and also provide spectacular panoramic views of Singapore’s CBD and Marina Bay areas. The mitigation of direct sunlight by the outer facade cools the building reducing the mechanical performance significantly therefore reducing it’s existing CO2 output.. This was a radical departure from the claustrophobic and poorly ventilated outdated office environment provided for currently.

Architectural interventions were developed further with the proposal of sky gardens. These spaces were a completely new introduction to the CDL building and provided spaces which were full of natural daylight, ventilation, vegetation and beneficial for corporate events within the site. All of these interventions and refurbishment solutions were considered in terms of the construction sequence that would need to occur during a two year period. The logical method was to remove and replace the existing facade and restore from the roof downwards allowing accommodation to be phased maintaining a constant revenue for leasing during this 24 storey refit.

This scheme was awarded First Prize for it’s urban response, aesthetic, innovative methods of construction and it’s holistic approach to sustainable design with a local supporting design team of Kay Ngee Tan and Arups Singapore.