By Ole Scheeren © Buro-OS

Two Towers – Sculpted to Generate Urban Spaces with the Surrounding Context – Create a Civic Nucleus Symbiotically Inscribed within the City
Mixed-use High-rise Development, including Premium Offices, Luxury Hotel, Residences and Signature Retail, F&B
Commission: March 2011 Construction Start: 2013 Completion: 2018
M+S Pte. Ltd.
26,700m2 lot bounded by Ophir Road, Beach Road, Rochor Road, North Bridge Road and Fraser Street
Gross Floor Area: approximately 160,350m2 (1.73 million sq.ft.)
Total Construction Area: approximately 285,838m2 (3.08 million sq.ft.)
186 meters (Residential Tower, 50 floors above ground);
170 meters (Office/ Hotel Tower, 39 floors above ground)
Premium Offices 64,000m2; Five-Star Hotel (350+ rooms) 24,000m2; Hotel Amenities and Ballroom 4,750m2; Premium Residences (660 units), Residences Amenities 4,900m2; Ground Levels: Lobbies, Courtyard, Retail/F&B 7,400m2; Observation Deck 1,550m2; Retail/F&B, Connection to MRT Bugis Junction Station 2,925m2; Basement Parking (3 levels); Building Services 65,360m2

The design for this Malaysian-Singaporean joint venture actively engages the space of the surrounding city to form a new civic nucleus in Singapore’s modern metropolis. The two towers are not conceived as autonomous objects, but defined by the spaces they create around them.

Singapore consistently ranks as one of Asia’s most livable cities. However, it is increasingly dominated by isolated individual towers that favor exclusion over social connectivity. The prescribed zoning confronts the project with a dual dilemma: it splits the site into two separate pieces, and leaves large, bulky footprints for the resulting tower envelopes which risk overpowering the surroundings and the intimate scale of the adjacent historic Kampong Glam district.

The design for DUO subtracts circular carvings from the allowable building volumes in a series of concave movements that generate urban spaces – a kind of “urban poché” that co-opts adjacent buildings and symbiotically inscribes the two towers into their context.

By generating the massing through a subtractive process, the elevations of the new towers are reduced to slender profiles. Vertical facades rise skywards along the adjoining roads, while a net-like hexagonal pattern of sunshades reinforces the dynamic concave shapes. The duo of tower volumes is further sculpted to feature a series of cantilevers and setbacks that evoke choreographed kinetic movements of the building silhouettes.

The buildings dematerialize as they reach the ground to provide a porous permeable landscape traversing the site. Leisure zones and gardens act as a connector between multiple transport hubs and establish a flow of tropical greenery and lively commercial activity, accessible to the public 24 hours a day. A plaza, carved into the center of the towers and integrating the neighboring building as part of its perimeter, forms a new public nexus between the historic district of Kampong Glam and the extension of the city’s commercial corridor.

Multiple levels of vertical connectivity give access to large elevated terraces for the hotel and residents, a public observation deck and a sky restaurant atop the office/hotel tower, while establishing a direct connection to the adjacent underground MRT subway station. Vehicular traffic is lifted off the ground to allow uninterrupted pedestrian circulation. Extensive landscape areas at the ground levels, elevated terraces, and roofscapes provide accessible green space equal to 100% of the site area.

The development incorporates environmental strategies through passive and active energy efficient design and naturally ventilated spaces. The building’s orientation is optimized to prevailing sun and wind angles, while the concave building massing captures and channels wind flows through and across the site, fostering cool microclimates within the shaded outdoor spaces.

Embracing civic spaces in a symbiotic relationship with each other and thereby transforming the surrounding multivalent urban fabric, the two sculpted towers act as urban space generators.

In 2021, DUO won the prestigious CTBUH Urban Habitat Award for the Single Site Scale category.

PARTNERS: Eric Chang, Dan Cheong
CONCEPT TEAM: Benjamin Ahrens, Tim Archambault, Antonio Berton, Kim Bjarke, Catarina Canas, Andria Fong, Brian Fung, Yulia Gandasari, Nozomi Kanemitsu, Tait Kaplan, Patrick Kohl, Jonas Aarsoe Larsen, Kayeon Lee, Mavis Liu, Nicolas Frez Madariaga, Daniel Mayer, Tool Nampanwiwat, Jascha Oakes, Kevin Ou, Kris Provoost, Alex Rosenthal, Nina Schippel, Sun Shuo, Tomohiro Sugeta, Joseph Tang, Yang Tao, Mike Taylor, Olaf Turck, Chompunuch Vanichayanguranon, Carl Christian Wentzel, Leonard Wong, Ali Yildirim, Bruno Zhao

EXECUTIVE ARCHITECT: DP Architects Pte Ltd, Singapore
CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING: BECA Carter Hollings & Ferner (SE Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore; Buro Happold Consulting Engineers (Beijing) Limited, Beijing
BUILDING SERVICES ENGINEERING: BECA Carter Hollings & Ferner (SE Asia) Pte Ltd, Singapore
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: KPK Quantity Surveyors, Singapore
LIGHTING CONSULTANT: International Lighting Architecture Bureau Pte Ltd, Singapore
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Coen Design International Pte Ltd, Singapore
TRAFFIC CONSULTANT: Vertix Asia-Pacific Pte Ltd, Singapore
MICROCLIMATE CONSULTANT: RWDI Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin Inc, Ontario
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