Singapore’s first intelligent building turns 10
Capital Tower’s friendliness well recognized
Issue: Feb 2010
Capital Tower, the mega-structure in Singapore’s financial district emerges out of an urban park, depicting dynamism, growth, and efficiency
Towering at 254 meters, Capital Tower, CapitaLand’s headquarters building, emerges as a visual signifier marking the southern extent of the financial district of Singapore. It is also the city’s fourth tallest skyscraper.
Originally built as the headquarters for the Post Office Savings Bank, Capital Tower was subsequently bought over by the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) while the building was only half-completed. As the amalgamated bank already occupied two towers a few streets away, the building was then sold to Pidemco Land. And when Pidemco Land and DBS Land merged to form CapitaLand in 2000, this skyscraper was made its headquarters.
Key financial institutions have made this building their home and headquarters. Long-time tenants include the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and JP Morgan. The China Club, an exclusive members-only club, features a bar, restaurant with private dining rooms and meeting rooms. The club occupies the penthouse on the 52nd floor of the building. At the penthouse, which features a 16-metre high frameless glass skylight, you will be treated to a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and the island’s landscape.
Generous lobby and lounge space decked out with paintings and sculptures provide tenants and visitors an oasis of serenity.
Conceived as a financial centre, Capital Tower is abundant with facilities and abuzz with activities. Cafes, shops, a gymnasium, a 25-meter heated lap pool located on the 9th floor as well as a theatre with state-of-the-art AVA system makes Capital Tower a choice office location. The décor, layout and landscaping of the lobbies and lounge areas also serve to provide a measure of space and an oasis of serenity for tenants and visitors.
The building’s growth, dynamism and efficiency are also depicted in its 52-storey high tower that arises from a horizontal plane amidst an urban park. The tower rises as a rectilinear form up to the 35th storey and subsequently tapers to the top forming a crown.
Over the last ten years, the mega-structure in Singapore’s financial district has registered many “firsts” and garnered numerous awards for its building’s architecture and energy efficiency. In 2001 it bagged the Building Construction Authority (BCA)'s Best Buildable Design Award. The following year, it was recognised by BCA again with Best Construction Design award.
Beyond brick and mortar
Beyond its façade and facilities, Capital Tower has been a pleasure to come to work in due to the friendliness of the service and security staff in the building.
Vivian Cheah of JF Asset Management (Singapore) Ltd, a part of JPMorgan Asset Management, was touched by the warmth extended that she wrote in a commendation to the management office. In September 2008, she had to travel to work in a taxi and move around in a wheelchair due to a fractured ankle which required surgery.
“When I arrived and left the building each day, the team of friendly, polite and dedicated security guards at Capital Tower would always come over to help the taxi driver with my wheelchair, hold the taxi door open for me and keep me safe from traffic whilst wheeling me to and from the lift lobby. Through my daily interaction with the team of security guards at Capital Tower, I realised that they are very dedicated to their jobs and are great examples of what it means to “go the extra mile” in service,” said Cheah.
From its security systems to various energy-saving measures, Capital Tower has been a trendsetter as Singapore’s first intelligent building in the mid 1990s.
When the building was completed in 2000, it already boasted an innovative, and state-of-the-art fully integrated intelligent building management system (IBMS) to mind its services and facilities.
One of its features is the highly intelligent carpark management with real-time status display at the entrance of the carpark. “It is the first carpark in Singapore to use the lot-counting method where drivers are guided by a wall-mounted digital panel. This saves the driver time and fuel consumption as they can tell by looking at the panel the location of the available car park lots” explains Ong Soon Ann, building manager, CapitaLand Commercial Management Private Limited at Capital Tower. Today this lot-counting system is a common feature in many public carparks in Singapore.
Capital Tower was also the first building to have its lifts equipped with dual LCD panels that provide its riders real-time live news feed.
The eco-friendly skyscraper
With its various intelligent features, which have resulted in efficient energy use, Capital Tower can also boast to be an eco-friendly skyscraper.
From its common facilities such as the carpark, toilets, and lifts to its recycling efforts, Capital Tower is constantly looking at ways to achieve energy efficiency and save the environment in the meantime.
Upon building completion, some eco-friendly features are already in place. For example, besides the parking guidance system in the carparks, another energy saving feature is the exhaust fans which are only activated in the carparks when the carbon monoxide sensors register more than 1,000 parts per million.
In other common areas, escalators slow down when they are not in use and speed up only when passengers ride the escalators.
An urban park with a dynamic fountain that uses NEWater fronts the 52-storey skyscraper that has become a landmark in the southern extent of Singapore’s financial district
In another effort to save energy, time and manage traffic flow, the 52 floors in the building are served by 35 passenger lifts. The lifts are segregated into 4 different zones: carpark, low- rise, mid-rise and high-rise zones. This system is typically used in very tall buildings as it helps to manage the passenger traffic and improve efficiency.
To take a step further towards being environmentally responsible, Capital Tower has been using NEWater for many of its non-domestic purposes since 2008. NEWater is being used in our water features such as the fountain in the urban plaza, irrigation system for the landscape areas as well as fire protection and air-conditioning systems. NEWater is being delivered to these systems via a separate piping system approved by the authorities
Recycling – a way of life at Capital Tower
As part of CapitaLand’s culture, recycling has become a way of life in its headquarters building.
Recycling made easy with bins strategically located throughout Capital Tower
Using CapitaLand’s Environmental Tracking System (ETS), the building management team monitors the amount of electricity and water as well as recyclables on a monthly basis.
Many of its tenants are also on board its recycling programme.
“Our recycling programme started in September 2001. Tenants, like Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, Cisco Systems and JP Morgan, are very environmentally conscious. They help us to recycle common items such as paper, cardboard boxes and plastic. We started with an initial average monthly collection of about 1000kg to the current monthly average of 1,800 kg recyclable waste,” says Ong.
To recognize Capital Tower’s innovative solutions and commitment to saving the environment, it has garnered many awards over the years. Notably, it bagged the BCA Green Mark Award (Gold) in 2005 and 2009. It was also the first runner-up in the 2003 ASEAN Efficient Energy Building Award as well as the 2003 BCA Efficient Energy Building Award (first runner-up).
Beyond all its accolades, be it personal or professional, Capital Tower remains true to its commitment of building a unique culture and experience for those who work and visit there.