UNStudio has designed a new landmark for Singapore, the V on Shenton, completed at the end of 2018 in the city’s Central Business District, where it replaced a skyscraper that had been an important part of the city’s skyline.
The UIC Building, completed in 1973, was part of a group of tall buildings built on Shenton Way and was “the tallest building in Singapore”, dominating the city skyline for a number of years. But the area became the subject of a redevelopment and transformation masterplan requiring replacement of the UIC Building with a new mixed-use construction incorporating both residential units and offices.
The architects of UNStudio eagerly rose to the challenge. Singapore is one of the world’s most densely populated metropolitan areas, where vertical development has for some time been considered the best way of making efficient use of valuable limited amounts of land, and the architects further maximised the efficiency of land use by building a mixed-use building which meets a variety of different needs: work, living and leisure. UNStudio’s V on Shenton is a set of twin towers, one for residential use and another for offices, integrating into its vertical development vast gardens with all-round panoramic views over Singapore. The gardens integrated into the building are positioned at different levels and offer users a number of different shared services and activities, such as a fitness area complete with swimming pools and children’s play areas with luxuriant vegetation providing fresh, clean air and mitigating the effects of high local temperatures.
The building has a shared plinth containing, in addition to the entrance foyers, a café which serves as a central meeting point. In the upper part, the two towers each go their own way, but their façades continue to share the same geometric matrix. The 23-floor office tower is lower, with the same height and proportions as the surrounding buildings, while the 53-floor residential tower stands out above the buildings around it. The separation of the two towers and their functions is clear in the differences on the buildings’ façades. The geometric matrix creating the design on the two façades is a hexagon, expressed in the office tower as a continuous façade. In the residential tower, on the other hand, the façade is dotted by elements such as balconies, bow windows and planters, differentiating the residential units and identifying their type, with one or two floors, from the outside. A continuous chamfered line unifies the composition, framing each of the towers, appearing smooth by day in contrast with the textured surfaces of the towers, and lighting up as a continuous lining framing the towers at night.
Client: UIC Investments (Properties) Pte Ltd
Location: No. 5 Shenton Way, UIC Building, Singapore
Building surface: 85.507 m2
Building volume: residential tower 237m height; office tower 123m height
Building site: 6778 m2
Programme: commercial and residential redevelopment.
Architects: UNStudio www.unstudio.com
UNStudio team: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber with Nuno Almeida and Ariane Stracke, Cristina Bolis; Derrick Diporedjo, Enrique Lopez, Gustav Fagerström, Hal Wuertz, Jaap Baselmans, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Jae Young Lee, Jay Williams, Jeong Eun Choi, Juliane Maier, Martin Zangerl, Patrick Kohl, René Rijkers, Rob Henderson, Stefano Rocchetti, Sander Versluis, Tiia Vahula, Wing Tang
Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
Structural engineer: DE Consultants (S) Pte Ltd
M&E consultant: J Roger Preston (S) Pte Ltd
Quantity surveyor: KPK Quantity Surveyors
Images courtesy of UNStudio, photo by Darren Soh