American architecture giant Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has revealed its design for an Alibaba-backed tower soaring 350 metres (1,148 feet) in height to become Singapore’s tallest skyscraper upon completion.
The 63-storey mixed-use development at 8 Shenton Way in the Tanjong Pagar area will comprise more than 148,000 square metres (1.6 million square feet) of floor space for office, retail, hotel and luxury residential use, as well as 10,000 square metres of elevated, public green space, Chicago-based SOM said Thursday in a release.
The supertall project will feature direct underground connectivity to Tanjong Pagar MRT station and is seeking the top-level Green Mark Platinum certification from the Building Construction Authority of Singapore, with extensive use of natural materials like zero-waste terracotta and engineered bamboo.
“Designed specifically with the tropical climate of Singapore in mind, this building will be one of the first post-pandemic mixed-use towers in the world incorporating health and wellness as its primary design drivers,” said SOM partner Mustafa Abadan. “By seeking to achieve the city’s newest and most rigorous sustainability standards, our design will establish a new paradigm for resilient and elegant high-rise design in Singapore and beyond.”
Squaring the Cylinder
The 8 Shenton Way project is a redevelopment of the 1986-vintage AXA Tower, itself the 16th-tallest skyscraper in Singapore and the world’s tallest cylindrical building.
The cylindrical structure is being demolished and replaced with a “stepped” construction reminiscent of past SOM designs like Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and Chicago’s Willis Tower, which held the title for almost 25 years.
In mid-2020, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba acquired a 50 percent stake in AXA Tower from an investment consortium led by Singapore’s Perennial Holdings in a deal that valued the landmark office property at S$1.68 billion ($1.2 billion).
The project announced a new partner in April of this year, with mysterious Chinese investor Gordon Tang buying a 21 percent stake in the venture from a group led by Perennial chairman Kuok Khoon Hong.
Chip Eng Seng Corp, together with a joint venture between SingHaiyi Group and Haiyi Holdings, all three of which are controlled by Tang and his wife Celine, acquired the one-fifth interest in the project at a value of S$353 million. Kuok and entities he controls, including Perennial and SGX-listed agribusiness giant Wilmar International, together hold the remaining 29 percent share.
All Under One Roof
8 Shenton Way is billed as the first project under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s CBD Incentive Scheme with such a diversity of components, including retail, office, SOHO-style units, luxury residential, hotel and function space.
The new building will reuse part of the existing foundation and infrastructure on-site to minimise material use, SOM said. The facade will be built of energy-efficient glazing, and recyclable aggregates will be used in its concrete structure, manufactured through a low-carbon process.
Seven landscaped terraces, including one for the hotel floors and three for the residential levels, will be carved out of the building every five to six floors to bring light, air and natural ventilation, with the residences occupying the highest levels of the tower.
Once the project is completed in 2028, Perennial will provide property management and asset management services for the property. The owners are also applying for a fresh 99-year leasehold for the site to extend the 60 years remaining on its land tenure.