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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

48 NCR on North Canal Road, in Singapore by WOHA

July 20th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: WOHA

The project brief called for a new boutique office and the reconstruction of a pair of heritage-listed shophouses. WOHA was commissioned only after their demolition to reconstruct the shopfront (up to 7.5m depth) in accordance with Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority’s conservation and planning guidelines, and to design an entirely new, contemporary rear wing.

Front view of office block and conservation shophouse from urban park, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

  • Architects: WOHA
  • Project: 48 NCR on North Canal Road
  • Location: 48 North Canal Road, Singapore
  • Photography: Patrick Bingham-Hall
  • Project Dates: Design Inception: Oct 2009, Start of Construction: Oct 2010, Completion/TOP: 18 Oct 2012
  • Project Cost: S$ 9.5 million
  • Project Size: Gross Floor Area: 1,370.04 sqm, Plot/Site Area: 326.20 sqm
  • Architects & Interior Design: WOHA
  • Project Team: Wong Mun Summ, Richard Hassell, Ang Chow Hwee, Daniel Fung, Dennis P. Formalejo, Christina Ong, Eric Barthole
  • Client: Maybank Kim Eng Properties Pte Ltd
  • Software used: Autocad and Rhinoceros

Bird’s eye view of office block and conservation shophouse, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

  • Project Manager: Hong How Projects Pte Ltd
  • Civil & Structural Engr: CP Lim & Partners
  • Mechanical & Electrical Engr: Squire Mech Pte Ltd
  • Quantity Surveyors: Langdon & Seah Singapore Pte Ltd
  • Landscape Consultant: Coen International Pte Ltd
  • Main Contractor: Takenaka Corporation

Street view showing connection to adjacent office building (not part of roject), Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

As the original floor levels with their low ceiling heights were retained, the front end of the shophouses was deemed more suitable for meeting rooms, while the service end accommodated a mechanised carpark. The idea was to strategically lift up the open plan offices within the upper 4 floors where the floor plate size is maximised, higher headroom is gained, better views are enjoyed and more natural daylight is accessed from the sides. Every flat roof area is also transformed into roof gardens with the attic featuring the office’s recreational lounge from which unblocked panoramic views of Hong Lim Park and PARKROYAL on Pickering Hotel can be enjoyed.

Rear view showing connection to adjacent office building (not part of project), Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Unlike a typical internalised courtyard, the main design strategy was to invert the shophouse typology by carving out valuable floor area to create an externalised, urban, public pocket park at the very heart of the office instead. A café, break-out areas and meeting rooms are organised around this park, enjoying the greenery and light that it brings to the deep plan. This public gesture further serves to reduce the intermediate scale of the 9-storey building to a more intimate, human scale at the pocket park below.

Street view of the urban pocket park and vertical green, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

The formal architectural language of fractal, triangulated geometry originated from the need to comply with authority requirements of having splayed corners as the building is bounded by three roads. This inspired a chiselled expression that was carried through in both plan and elevation, taking the form of internal angled walls and external slanted planes, revealing a concave curtain wall like that of crystal embedded in the hollow lower strata of its atrium park space. Shading was also built into the formal language by means of an integrated sun screen within the curtain wall system and a series of perforated aluminium panels.

Street view of the urban pocket park and vertical green, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Street view of the urban pocket park and vertical green, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Tunnel leading from back service lane to urban pocket park, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Perforated breathable screening, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Angular bar ledge and railing at roof terrace, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

View of entrance atrium space from meeting room, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Office floor with drifting clouds of lights, Image Courtesy © Patrick Bingham-Hall

Image Courtesy © WOHA

Image Courtesy © WOHA

Image Courtesy © WOHA

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Categories: Autocad, Offices, Rhinoceros

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