Office tower designs do not usually cause hearts to flutter, but Toyo Ito has risen to the challenge with wit, humour and empathy writes Huang Nickmatul.
21 September, 2011
The release of any real estate for development in land-scarce Singapore is an event of some excitement. The release of the Market Street plot of land is doubly so due to its location in the heart of Singapore’s financial and business district – and the fact that it’s a building that’s being designed by Toyo Ito.
Ito’s creation is a 40-storey-tall pillar of – almost quite literally – green. The office tower features greenery on every floor, extensive sky gardens on 3 levels, a Sky Forest on the roof as well as considerable vertical greenery.
“When building up the city, the relationship of the people with the trees became very much limited. Designing this building, I wanted to revive the relationship between greenery, buildings and people,” says Ito.
The many gardens and the Sky Forest will be functional spaces: for example, a restaurant will be nestled within the Sky Forest and the ground floor will feature a sheltered public plaza with art sculptures.
“Compared with Japan, Singapore has a lot of green but it’s different inside the buildings,” Ito muses. “With the Market Street tower, I want to create more blurring of the relationship between the inside and the outside.”
The building will have several other innovative eco elements such as a double-skin high-performance glass energy-efficient facade. An empty core will also run down the centre of the tower: the cool, cleaner air that is produced by the trees will be captured and sent to each floor through this void.
“This is a very important concept for us. We think of the building as ’breathing’. There are many other projects with green terraces, but the Sky Forest feature actually produces cleaner, cool air that we can push through the building. The building itself becomes like a tree in the city.”
When completed, the tower will have office spaces with a floor-to-ceiling height of 3.2 metres, one of the highest in office towers within the Central Business District (CBD). This allows for larger windows that gives a feeling of spaciousness and enables more natural light to enter.
The building is targeted for completion in the late half of 2014. According to the developer, CapitaLand, the Market Street office tower will be the only significant new Grade A office building in the CBD district completed at that time.
Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects
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