Tree of Life Springs Forth in Business District

Market Street office tower adds value to business and environment with revolutionary ecological design

Issue: Oct 2011

40-storey Market Street office tower's façade
Inspired by the surface of the Earth and designed like a tree, the 40-storey Market Street office tower's façade combines greenery with glass to create a dramatic structure in Singapore's Central Business District
Photo credit: Kuramochi + Oguma

New life is set to bloom in the concrete jungle in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD) by the second half of 2014. The Market Street office tower, a redevelopment of Singapore's first multi-storey car park in the business district - Market Street Car Park - will transform into an impressive 40-storey Grade A commercial property with facades designed to be reminiscent of the Earth's surface.

"Conceived 'like a plant', the office tower boasts a 'Sky Forest' on the roof planted with tropical trees and the cleaner air produced by the trees is sent to each floor through a cool void that runs down the centre of the building. This center core, called the 'Inner Tube', functions as a trunk for the flow of people and air, so the whole building becomes a circulatory system much like a living plant," explained Toyo Ito, the internationally acclaimed Japanese architect who is leading this design project. This is the first time that Mr Ito has employed this concept in his buildings. Mr Ito is known for his prominent works across the world such as the Sendai Mediatheque in Japan, The Main Stadium for the World Games 2009 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, TOD's Omotesando Building in Tokyo, and VivoCity in Singapore. (Read INSIDE's interview with Toyo Ito)

The Market Street office tower redevelopment project is a joint venture by CapitaLand, its subsidiary, CapitaCommercial Trust (CCT), and Mitsubishi Estate Asia (MEA). The redevelopment cost is estimated to be S$1.4 billion.

Sound Investment and Value-add

The planning of this new addition to the area's skyline has been 15 years in the making. This is part of the organisation's on-going effort to add value to the business and unlock shareholders' value. The new Market Street office tower is expected to generate a rental yield in excess of 6 per cent per annum on a stabilised basis. It will also ensure that the premium plot of land is maximally used to serve the growing demand for office space in the CBD. This investment is aligned with CapitaLand's strategy to strengthen its pipeline of commercial properties in Singapore.

Mr Chong Lit Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of CapitaLand Commercial Limited said, "This project presents an excellent opportunity to add an iconic landmark to Raffles Place. The design challenges norms of what a typical office building looks like and strives to balance environmental consciousness with functionality. In addition to developing a dramatic exterior, we have also placed much attention on the interiors and features to ensure they befit an ultra-modern Grade A office building. The value of the property will be enhanced with the outstanding design complementing its already good connectivity to established transport system and amenities."

Screen grab of aerial view of site from video
Flanked by Raffles Place and Marina Bay, the Market Street office tower offers both prime location and breathtaking views

Of the new landmark in Singapore's CBD, Ms Lynette Leong, Chief Executive Officer of CapitaCommercial Trust Management Limited said, "With its refreshing environmentally-friendly design features by Toyo Ito and good location within Raffles Place and close to Marina Bay, we believe the new Market Street office tower will be an attractive proposition for office occupiers that demand state-of-the-art building specifications. We are targeting the completion of the new Market Street office tower by second half of 2014, where there will be no significant new Grade A office supply in Singapore's Central Business District (CBD), so as to capture the year's office demand."

Sky terrace
Each side of the Market Street office tower façade features a different configuration of greenery and glass, corresponding with the way light and wind hit the building from different directions

But the Market Street office tower is not just a business value-add to the CBD that is increasingly demanding more office space, it is also an ecological value-add to the Earth. The organic design conceived by internationally-acclaimed and arguably Japan's finest architect, Toyo Ito, incorporates several energy-saving concepts.

The cool air from the top that is channelled throughout the building helps to keep the property cooler as does the ecologically designed façade. The building's exterior is dressed in a combination of extensive vertical greenery and double-skin, high-performance glass that draws inspiration from the Earth's surface. 55 per cent of the building's facade is covered in greenery. This, along with the double-skin glass, helps to reduce the absorption of heat. The building is, therefore, kept cooler and will be less dependent on air-conditioning which will reduce energy consumption.

Lush greenery and expansive space are the distinctive features of Ito's design. It is the master designer's way of re-connecting people to Nature and re-introducing the kind of greenery-covered, open spaces of yesteryears before massive urbanisation overtook the city. Apart from the roof garden which will also house a restaurant, gym and pool, Ito has fitted in sky gardens on three levels and greenery on every floor, allowing tenants greater proximity to and intimacy with Nature.

The completed tower is designed to achieve the Green Mark Platinum award, the highest accolade in recognising environmentally-friendly buildings from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA).

High ceilings and tall windows let in natural light which allows for maximum visibility and a feeling of spaciousness

The office tower will have about 720,000 square feet of lettable area with an estimated gross floor area (GFA) of 887,000 square feet (including bonus GFA) and floor plates of 20,000 to 25,000 square feet.
At 3.2 metres high, the floor-to-ceiling height is one of the highest in offices towers in the CBD.
The extra height accommodates large windows that let in more natural light and lends a more spacious feel to the offices. Several floors are designed for tenants who require large spaces as MNCs and major international banks are expected to take up tenancy in the building. The ground floor will feature a sheltered public plaza with art sculptures.

Undoubtedly, the office tower will be a new symbol of the 21st century, redefining the cityscape, our perception of urban greenery and green buildings, and bringing about enhanced value to relevant stakeholders.

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