All renderings © Ole Scheeren
Many new luxury buildings tend to stand out among their neighbors, but the "DUO towers" being planned for Singapore just want to fit in. Designed by Buro Ole Scheeren, a former partner at OMA, the twin towers have been molded by the city in which they stand, creating a civic space that echoes its surroundings. The design bear the marks of subtractive process, with the architects scooping out chunks of the tower massings to allow them to conform to the street while shrinking the building footprints as much as possible. The resultant forms flow with the curve of a street, the roundness of a courtyard, and the staggered openings of sky between buildings, making quite the impression with quite a tiny footprint.
Due to strict zoning laws in the area, the building site was split into to pieces with a giant void between and around them. Observing the urban composition of Singapore---mainly, isolated high-rises with little connection to any urban fabric---Scheeren decided that the towers would instead be defined by the space around them, linked together by a "new civil nucleus". The buildings "dematerialize" as they make their way to the ground, so as to free up the ground and create direct visual and spatial links from the street to the central plaza.
The towers' odd cantilevered bits are more than just formal gestures. A number of the setback pieces toward the top of the buildings are actually elevated terraces and observation decks, while one will even house a soaring sky restaurant with a luscious green roof.
As for the spacious void between the buildings, it accommodates a brand new public plaza, complete with a park, tropical gardens, and courtyards. The lively public space will attract locals and visitors with tons of shopping, restaurants, and places to relax. Car traffic is elevated around the plaza so that pedestrian circulation proceeds uninterrupted below.