The shoreline that once fronted Singapore’s Beach Road may have been landfilled decades ago as part of the country’s relentless urban expansion, but it’s also the site of some remarkable architecture. These include IM Pei’s majestic Gateway Towers, Paul Rudolph’s griddled Concourse, and DP Architects’ Golden Mile Complex. And now, Büro Ole Scheeren has added the DUO to the mix.
Sheathed with a honeycombed grid of hexagons – a pattern Scheeren used with great effect on his first Singaporean project at the Interlace - the striking silhouette of the twin-towered mixed-used development more than holds its own against its senior neighbours.
The eye travels restlessly along the edges, up and down straight lines that bend without warning into curves that have the subliminal effect of gathering pedestrians inwards through the porous passageways, whilst buttresses cantilever outwards to throw off any sense of symmetry. From a distance, the visual effect is of two tectonic titans dramatically squaring off against one another.
And though it’s nowhere to be found in the press materials, it’s understood that the raison d’etre of the concave curves was partly to deflect the ‘negative’ feng shui energy generated by the sharp knife-edges of Pei’s Gateway building across the road.
The 39-storey tower holds a mix of offices, the first South East Asian outpost of the Andaz hotel, and an observation deck that offers a dizzying panorama of the island, not least the colourful rooftops of the fin de siècle shop-houses of the Bugis quarter.
Across a landscaped piazza that’s peppered with restaurants, shops, and specially commissioned sculptures, the adjoining 49-storey DUO residential tower, meanwhile, features 660 private residences that range from studios to one-to-four bedroom apartments, and penthouses. These are collectively serviced by four decks of gym, 50m lap-pool, dining areas, gardens, outdoor pool and outdoor grills.
For more information visit the Buro Ole Scheeren website
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Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.
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