Ole Scheeren completes Singapore's sculptural DUO towers – 'a celebration of public access and activity'

The project repairs a broken piece of the city and celebrates public life as the central quality of a socially responsible urban environment
– Ole Scheeren

DUO, a sculptural mixed-use complex integrating living, working and retail spaces with public gardens and cultural installations has been officially completed in Singapore.

The project, designed by the practice of German architect Ole Scheeren, is significant from both an architectural and political perspective – as it represents a historic collaboration between the governments of Malaysia and Singapore through their respective state investment arms Khazanah and Temasek.

Singapore was once a state of Malaysia, but separated to become an independent nation in August 1965 as a result of deep political and economic divisions.

According to Scheeren, DUO “shows how architecture can become a tool of reconciliation within an otherwise disparate and fragmented urban context.”

“This is a joint venture between two countries, and the project has come to represent this important duality,” he said. “Our architecture articulates the dynamic relationship of two urban figures and generates symbiotic effects beyond the project itself with a positive impact on the larger context.

“The project also repairs a broken piece of the city and celebrates public life as the central quality of a socially responsible urban environment.”

DUO – which includes residences, offices and a luxury Andaz hotel with interiors by Andre Fu – is situated on the main route into the city from Singapore’s Changi Airport and nestled between the historic Kampong Glam district and vibrant commercial Bugis Junction.

The design is conceived as “a process of subtraction,” with smooth circular spaces carved from the building’s mass and a series of vertical offsets and cantilevers used to create spaces for the public realm. Stretched across the skin of the towers is an intricate honeycomb texture that features a series of hexagonal sunshades that help protect the structures from the heat and glare of the sun, while also providing texture to the concave curves.

The ground floor of the development is free 24/7 for public use, as are the surrounding plazas and gardens.

“The main gesture of DUO is to give something back to the city,” says Scheeren. “We didn’t want a gated community or a privatised space, so we created a 24-hour accessible public realm that connects to all of the different aspects of the surrounding city. The landscape is conceived as something highly organic and completely permeable – its liquid geometry allows you to flow through the site in almost any direction. It’s a celebration of public access and activity.”

Buro Ole Scheeren describe DUO

“While DUO’s two towers contain the main functional elements – one tower accommodates 660 residences and the other corporate offices and a five-star hotel operated by Andaz – the structures dematerialise as they reach the ground, opening out into a porous public landscape. Here, vibrant commercial spaces weave around the footprint of the towers through a sequence of gardens and walkways that pass in and out of the towers hovering above.

“The plaza is open to the public 24 hours a day and celebrates the lush tropical vegetation that grows across Singapore. This parkland mixes a series of gardens and landscaped leisure zones which are linked to the rest of the city through multiple connections above and below ground.

“The development is further served by multiple transport hubs and integrates direct access to the Bugis metro station. Vehicles reach the towers by a series of dedicated ramps, allowing the plaza to serve as a fully pedestrianised space.

“Meanwhile, high above the city on the towers’ geometric offsets and projecting cantilevers, large elevated terraces and a public observation deck offer spectacular views across Singapore’s skyline.”

It has been a busy year for Scheeren, who has recently completed the Guardian Art Center on the doorstep of Beijing’s historic Forbidden City and revealed designs for a series of high-rise landscaped towers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and a stacked residential high-rise in Frankfurt, Germany.

Ole Scheeren  DUO  Singapore  Malaysia 
Related stories

'A Chinese puzzle of interlocking spaces': Ole Scheeren completes Guardian Art Center in Beijing

Ole Scheeren and Andre Fu join forces for Andaz Singapore hotel

Ole Scheeren reveals design for vast Vietnam 'Sky Forest' towers open to the public

Ole Scheeren announces first European building: a green-topped Frankfurt tower

Ole Scheeren creates Thailand's tallest tower with twisting, 'pixellated' MahaNakhon

Diverse buildings recognised at World Architecture Festival; OMA and Buro Ole Scheeren's Interlace wins Building of the Year

More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6199     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 6199     
company profile
Company profile: Life Fitness UK Ltd
Through our Life Fitness Solutions Partners, we can deliver design and build services, finance solutions, management solutions, and marketing support.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The Vault Bar is lined with 3,000 safety deposit boxes
Lund has worked as a designer for Soho House since 2014. She co-led the design of The Ned
"My favourite part of the building is the original bank vault, in the belly of the building. It once stored gold bullion deposits of £335m"

On the challenges of creating The Ned

At the Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat, reclaimed brick walls create multiple courtyard enclosures
Rossana Hu studied at the University of California at Berkeley, where she met Lyndon Neri
"Interior projects carried out by architects have a depth that’s generally lacking today"

Neri & Hu’s latest project

DMAC founder Dwayne MacEwen has worked with Midtown Athletic Club for more than a decade
DMAC’s Dwayne MacEwen
"The hotel concept came late in the game, but it was an inspired idea"

The newly renovated Chicago Midtown Athletic Club features a boutique hotel, a pool-come-ice rink and spaces designed by Venus Williams

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
The hotel is created using concrete and glass
"We want to create the illusion that guests are entering another world when they arrive at the resort"

An Icelandic spa retreat inspired by surrealist folk tales

A bronze mesh allows sound energy to reach the hall’s walls, improving the acoustics
"It’s a privilege to have completed a scheme of such importance to the cultural identity of Antwerp - Stuart Mills"

SimsponHaugh’s latest project

"Whenever you’re looking at it, the elevation is running away from you, so it never looks quite as big as it really is "

FaulknerBrowns’ Dutch sports facility

Construction on the museum is scheduled to begin later this year
Theoni Xanthi Partner XZA Architects
"The design concept is to create a museum that evokes a transition in time, in space, in memory"

The vision for the New Cyprus Musuem

cladkit product news
Matteo Thun Atelier create hospitality collection inspired by Mediterranean atmosphere
The collection is designed to integrate with numerous architecture and interior projects across the hospitality sector
Kim Megson
The studio of Italian architect and designer Matteo Thun have produced a new range of wooden furniture designed for everything ...
Ma Yansong debuts out of this world furniture collection
Ma Yansong was inspired by science fiction and the possibility of life on Mars
Lauren Heath-Jones
Curation-led design gallery Gallery ALL debuted the MAD Martian Collection at Design Miami. Designed by Ma Yansong, founder and principal ...
Hotel Crescent Court opens new spa following multi-million-dollar renovation
Hotel Crescent Court has reopened its spa after a multi-million dollar refurbishment
Lauren Heath-Jones
Hotel Crescent Court, a luxury hotel in Dallas, Texas, has reopened its spa and fitness centre after completing a multi-million-dollar ...
cladkit product news
AB Concept partners with House of Tai Ping for luxurious rug collection
The collection was inspired by the idea of looking down at the world from a great height
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design house AB Concept has partnered with bespoke rug specialist Tai Ping to create Nephele, an exclusive line of handcrafted ...
FAÇADE2017 winners 'diverse and remarkable', says SFE board member
Ramboll was awarded for the Blavatnik Building, Switchouse Extension of the Tate Moder
Lauren Heath-Jones
A trio of British leisure facilities have been honoured in the Façade2017 awards. Established in 2013 by the Society of ...
Empex Watertoys partners with Singapore architecture firm on new splash park
Buds is a new splash park that caters to children aged 12 and under
Lauren Heath-Jones
Empex Watertoys has partnered with Singapore landscape architecture firm Playpoint Singapore Pte to create Buds, an exciting new splash park ...
cladkit product news
HawkinsBrown complete timber pool facility for 'swimming among the trees'
The space has been designed as 'a welcoming retreat that engages with the mature woodland setting through the use of natural materials and colour schemes'
Kim Megson
Architects HawkinsBrown have completed an elegant timber pool hidden among the trees for a school in the English county of ...
Brdr. Krüger to exhibit at IMM Cologne
The Theodor chair was named after studio co-founder Theodor Krüger
Lauren Heath-Jones
Danish furniture company Brdr. Krüger will showcase a range of new and existing pieces at international interiors show, IMM Cologne. ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates