Surbana Jurong is acquiring two major architectural firms - a move that will boost its ability to take on ambitious projects, particularly in sectors like healthcare and hospitality.
One acquisition is Canadian firm B+H, which has strengths in hospitality and healthcare, extending to interior design, said Surbana Jurong.
The other acquisition - Singapore firm SAA Architects - has capabilities in both healthcare and transport, with work carried out on MRT lines as well as Changi Airport's Terminal 4.
Surbana Jurong chief executive Wong Heang Fine said yesterday that apart from these specific capabilities, both firms are valuable additions to the group due to their ambitious and creative style. "They're pushing the envelope. They're pushing the design to the extreme, and that's what we want to do," he said.
Mr Wong said the two new acquisitions are more about talent than revenue contribution, although they will also offer greater market access. In particular, B+H gives access to North America - where Surbana Jurong has yet to do any projects - as well as to major technology firms, which are its clients. SAA is strong in Singapore, Malaysia and China, with offices across South-east Asia.
Surbana Jurong has already made moves focused on building up capabilities in infrastructure, one of its three main business areas alongside urban and managed services.
"This time, we want to further deepen our urban (capabilities) to bring up our urban revenue," noted Mr Wong.
The group's urban capabilities include architecture, civil structure, mechanical and electrical systems, quantity surveying and project management.
Surbana Jurong's experience on the architecture front includes townships, particularly with its long history of public housing here.
It now wants to deepen its capabilities in other types of projects, including healthcare, offices, condominiums and mixed-use developments.
Surbana Jurong has also formed a collaboration with Hong Kong-based Rocco Design Architects. Some of its architects will be mentored by Rocco, while Surbana Jurong will support some of Rocco's design work.
Mr Wong said: "To us, it's really about giving the opportunity to our young architects, and having the opportunity for our people to learn from these great designers."