Singapore's integrated resorts: Building iconic new tower a challenging task, says acclaimed architect

An artist's impression of MBS with a planned fourth tower adjacent to the three existing ones that are capped by a linear sky park.
An artist's impression of MBS with a planned fourth tower adjacent to the three existing ones that are capped by a linear sky park.PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

Eight years ago, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Singapore transformed Singapore's skyline when they opened. More will be done - last week, it was announced that the two integrated resorts will pump in $9 billion to build world-class attractions

Constructing Marina Bay Sands' (MBS) new fourth tower presents many technical challenges, said the architect behind the three existing MBS towers.

Renowned architect Moshe Safdie told The Sunday Times in an e-mail interview that the biggest challenge will be in accommodating different programme elements of a music arena, a luxury hotel tower and Mice (meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition) space on a very tight site.

It is understood that the new tower, together with a state-of-the-art 15,000-seat arena to stage major concerts and additional exhibition space, will sit on a small plot of land adjacent to the three towers in what is a highly built-up area.

Mr Safdie said his firm, Safdie Architects, is working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Land Transport Authority on this development to ensure there is easy access and flow of traffic around the project.

The Canadian-Israeli architect, who also worked on Jewel Changi Airport which opens on April 17, will be responsible for designing the building, along with two other global architectural firms Aedas and Gensler.

On Wednesday, MBS' parent company Las Vegas Sands said it will spend an approximate $4.5 billion on the fourth tower. The new development is part of a $9 billion expansion by MBS and Resorts World Sentosa, announced on the same day. There was no start date or timeline provided for the completion of the new tower.

On the aesthetics of the building and how it would sit in the Singapore skyline, Mr Safdie said: "The ensemble of the new tower and arena should be, in my opinion, harmonious with the Marina Bay Sands complex, while at the same time, being iconic in its own right."

He revealed the new tower will consist of "two curvilinear planes, wrapping around each other" and will be "crowned by a multi-level SkyPark amenity", in contrast to the linear SkyPark of the existing property. The new tower will feature around 1,000 all-suite luxury hotel rooms, although the size of the rooms has not been confirmed.


MBS president and chief executive George Tanasijevich said last week: "What I think is a certainty is that these are going to be luxury hotel rooms that are appealing and serve as a point of differentiation from what we already have on offer in Singapore."

Local architects say the new development, if done in an aesthetic coherent with the existing towers, will enhance Singapore's skyline.

Mr Khoo Poh Bin, deputy managing director of local architectural firm DCA Architects, said: "The Singapore skyline is typically characterised by the city view comprising MBS, Gardens by the Bay and the Singapore Flyer. The fourth tower will be an addition to the current composition, which has become the Instagram moment.

"It's restrained and blends in without disrupting the iconic Singapore skyline."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'Building iconic new tower a challenging task, says acclaimed architect'. Print Edition | Subscribe