The South Beach development occupies an entire city block in downtown Singapore, between the Marina Center and the Civic District. Conceived as a sustainable urban quarter, the project combines new construction with the restoration of existing buildings, and brings together places to live and work with shops, cafes, restaurants, a hotel and new public spaces. A wide landscaped pedestrian avenue – a green spine – weaves through the site and is protected by a large canopy, which shelters the light-filled spaces beneath from the extremes of the tropical climate.
The gently curving form of the two towers is a continuation of the undulating canopy below. Their facades are angled to capture prevailing winds and direct air flow to cool the ground level spaces. The south tower is divided between a hotel and apartments, while the north tower is made up of office floors. Continuing the Singaporean ideal of the ‘city in a garden’, the buildings incorporate densely planted sky gardens, with uninterrupted views of the Central Business District. The treatment of the perimeter buildings is sensitive to the scale of the nineteenth century Raffles Hotel on the opposite side of the street – the four adjacent former military buildings along Beach Road are carefully restored and interspersed by conserved mature trees.
The canopy’s ribbons of steel and aluminium louvres flex above the primary circulation routes and public spaces and dip near the edges to meet the Beach Road buildings. The ribbons are supported by slender pillars and rise up the exposed east and west elevations of the towers to form a series of vertical louvres, which are carefully angled to encourage natural ventilation. The entrance to the canopy rises up to form an arc, which acts as a wind scoop, drawing the prevailing breezes through the space and promoting natural ventilation. Beneath the canopy are a series of smaller buildings and flexible spaces for functions and events. Combining rainwater harvesting with a range of environmental strategies, the development aims to achieve the Green Mark ‘Platinum’ Rating. The ground level is entirely pedestrianised, with individual vehicle access to underground parking and drop off points placed around the edges of the site, and public transport is integrated via a direct ‘green’ link to Esplanade MRT station.