On A Roll
PERSPECTIVE MAGAZINE 透视杂志
On A Roll
by Adrian Ho, Feb 2013[View PDF]
The curving DUO towers in Singapore mark the next installment in Ole Scheeren’s design adventures in Asia
Beijing-based German architect Ole Scheeren doesn’t do things by halves. No common or garden, nondescript projects will do for him. From the award-winning floating Archipelago Cinema (a cinema literally out at sea, done in collaboration with the Film On the Rocks Ya Noi Foundation) to the show-stopping CCTV Headquarters building in Beijing, Scheeren and his team revel in high-profile challenges.
Despite being based in China’s capital, he’s been busy in southeast Asia as well, helming projects such as the MahaNakhon in Bangkok and the Angkasa Raya in Kuala Lumpur (featured in Perspective in February 2012). Most recently, he revealed the design of the DUO, a new mixed-use project developed by a partnership between Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.
Located along Ophir-Rochor and Beach Road, DUO is directly sandwiched between Singapore’s historical Kampong Glam area and the more public, retail-oriented Bugis area. “It’s a site with a very heterogeneous environment and it’s strongly embedded in Singapore’s urbanity. There are tall towers, low-rises and green areas, which is really the mix that Singapore is made of,” says Scheeren.
The U-shaped site appeared destined for a massive, horseshoe-shaped building. However, Scheeren — naturally — had other ideas. “A bulky mass with very large façades would have threatened to overpower the context,” he notes. “So the question was how we could make this envelope more ‘absent’ rather than making it more ‘present’.”
Scheeren’s solution was to carve — so, by precisely carving a series of spaces between the towers and the gateway, urban spaces are it generated and articulated within, while symbiotically inscribing the development into its context. As a result, the DUO features
two eccentric, curved building volumes —with apartments in the more slender one; offices and a hotel in the other — and a circular central plaza.
The concave curves of the buildings transform the bulky profiles into elegant and vertical silhouettes. “As you move around, the project almost starts to dance,” Scheeren says. “The two towers enter into a very dynamic relationship that even integrates other things with them so they become very embracing.” Natural-looking hexagonal patterns are used to highlight the expressive curvatures of the façades, which channel wind flow through and across the site, and foster cool microclimates within the shaded outdoor spaces.
The towers dematerialise as they reach the ground to provide a permeable landscape that connects the surrounding areas, allowing the public to filter through the development from all sides. Together with all the lobbies, vehicular traffic to the residences, offices and the hotel have been raised onto a higher level, rendering the entire ground free of traffic and completely open to pedestrians — 24 hours a day.
The leisure zones and gardens on ground level will act as a connector between multiple transport hubs and establish a flow of tropical greenery and commercial activity. “Inside the site we want to give nature a very big role,” Scheeren explains. “You can actually see that it’s green throughout almost the entire site.”
At the centre of the development, the courtyard will provide outdoor dining areas for restaurants and other usages such as public markets or stage events. “If you look at the buildings from above, you can sense how we are creating a city rather than a building in itself,” Scheeren says. “Most architecture today is simply concerned with the iconic. Everything is self-referential and between them there is little relationship and sometimes, very little sense of how urban spaces are addressed. That is something I want to take further in this project.”
The construction of DUO is due to commence early this year, and is scheduled for completion in 2017.
北京为大本营的德国建筑师Ole Scheeren从不半途而废，也不从事任何平平无奇或单调乏味的项目。不论是大受好评的Archipelago Cinema（与Film on the Rocks Yao Noi基金携手建造的水上电影院，设计有如小岛，因而得名），还是教人目不暇给的北京CCTV总部大楼，也足证Ole和他的团队乐於接受非一般的挑战。
纵然Ole以北京为基地，由他操刀的项目却遍佈东南亚各地，例如曼谷的MahaNakhon大楼，以及吉隆坡的Angkasa Raya大楼（见《透视》2012年2月号）。最近，他则与马来西亚的国库控股（KhazanahNasional）及新加坡的淡马锡（Temasek Holdings）合作，设计出全新的综合项目「DUO」。