Tanjong Pagar Centre: Work, live, relax in 290m-high building

The mixed-use project comprising offices, luxury residences and a hotel will be Singapore's tallest building

A t 290m tall, the Tanjong Pagar Centre will have the tallest building in Singapore when it is completed in the middle of next year.

But the architects behind the mixed- use project - offices, luxury residences and a hotel - hope that being the tallest tower will not be its sole calling card.

Singapore's current tallest buildings, at about 280m, are One Raffles Place, Republic Plaza and United Overseas Bank Plaza One. They are all located in the Central Business District too.

American architectural and urban planning firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) designed the Tanjong Pagar Centre and it is no stranger to creating soaring skyscrapers and massive floor plates.

The firm is responsible for mammoth projects such as the iconic 828m Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest building; and last year's 104-storey, 541m-tall One World Trade Center in New York, which replaces a part of the buildings destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

SOM is not new to Singapore's landscape either. It has worked with local architects on two projects here - Changi Airport's Terminal 3 in 2007 and office building One George Street in 2005.

Tanjong Pagar Centre, a 64-storey integrated development spanning 1.7 million sq ft, sees the firm teaming up with local firm Architects 61.

SOM architect Ame Engelhart, one of the design consultants on the project, says the building's height is barely noticeable in the city skyline.

The maximum building height allowed in Singapore is 280m, but Tanjong Pagar Centre's developer GuocoLand obtained permission for the building, which sits above the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, to go up to 290m.

Ms Engelhart says: "As we're sitting much further away from Marina Bay, the height difference is not noticeable from the skyline. Other buildings look taller than ours."

GuocoLand Singapore's managing director Cheng Hsing Yao adds: "From a design perspective, the height speaks of the broader vision for the overall project, which is to exercise greater land efficiency.

"The height has also given us more leeway to create interesting and innovative building forms and sky gardens, and freed up more space on the ground level for our 150,000 sq ft urban park."

The park, which will sit between the two exits of the MRT station, is set to be a hot spot of activity where people can chill, play and dine outdoors.

There is also a 30,000 sq ft City Room - a spot where GuocoLand plans to have events throughout the week. This public space, which can accommodate up to 2,000 people, will be open all the time and is sheltered from the weather by a solar panel glass canopy which is 15m high.

Foodies will be spoilt for choice with the numerous alfresco food-and-beverage spots available. The facade of these units will be lit at night by fancy lights resembling flitting fireflies.

Above these eateries are themed roof gardens linked by aerial bridges. There is also a Tree Plaza where mature rain trees on the existing plot of land will be preserved. And cyclists will cheer at the 221 lots set aside for their two-wheelers.

Ms Engelhart says the park was designed "bigger than required" by regulation.

"The park is just as important as the buildings themselves. It adds a good quality of life to the space, beyond just office buildings. It adds to the resurgence of city living, where people can work, live and relax in the same vicinity," she explains.

The park is just one of many pieces in this huge structural puzzle, which also has the 181-unit luxury Clermont Residence and the 222-room Clermont Singapore hotel.

The residential portion sits atop the offices and starts from levels 39 to 64, making it the highest residential building in Singapore. The hotel is in its own building.

With so many components - Tanjong Pagar Centre is also nestled between old HDB blocks on one side and other skyscrapers on the other - Ms Engelhart likens designing the building to putting together a Swiss watch.

"It's so many things all at one place, on a site that is tight. But I think it will be an exciting location to be straddling two different neighbourhoods."

natashaz@sph.com.sg