On A Roll

Project Description

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.


Ole Scheeren将在新加坡建造名为「DUO」的弧形大楼,继续他在亚洲的设计历程

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」。

DUO毗邻Ophir-Rochor与Beach Road,位处Bugis一带的闹市与历史悠久的甘榜格南区之间。Ole说:「这幅地皮的环境非常多元,处处刻有新加坡的都市面貌。项目四周不乏高楼大厦、平房与自然环境,例如整个新加坡的缩影。」

以一般来说,这U形地皮注定成就一幢庞大的马蹄形建筑。然而,理所当然地,Ole却反其道而行。他指出:「一幢拥有大型外墙的庞然大物势将摧毁当地的风貌。因此我们要问: 如何令建筑的躯壳『隐形』,而不是令其『现身』。


大楼的底部用上化整为零的设计,与邻近的空间组成四通八达的流畅环境,使公眾可由任何一方进出项目。此外,所有往住宅、办公室与酒店的车流均与大堂一起上移,令整个地面顿变行人专用区,全日开放予公眾使用。此外,地面亦设不同的消间区域和花园,既可联繫项目内多个交通枢纽,亦能把自然环境与商业交流结合。Ole解释道:「我们希望大自然在项目中能担当重要的角色, 你可看到整幅地皮几乎都是一片翠绿。」

另一方面,DUO的中央广场不单能为餐馆提供户 外的进餐位置,亦可为公共市集或表演舞台等提供场地。Ole指出:「若你从建筑上方向下看,你会感到我们正在创造一个城市,而不单是一幢建筑。大部分现代建筑都只顾及项目的代表性,纯粹在乎建筑本身的一切;建筑之间往往缺乏关连,更不时欠缺对公共空间的见解。我希望透过DUO来反思这一切。」