A Scintillating Tapestry At 61 Robinson

DESIGN AWARD

Award Category: Special Categories

Architecture Firm:

Forum Architects Pte Ltd

Project Architect:

Tan Kok Hiang

Year Completed:

2022

Builder Firm:

Sunray Woodcraft Construction Pte Ltd

The original building has a classical façade which was a response to the nearby historic Lau Pa Sat (built in 1894) and former Telecom Building (former Eastern Extension Telegraph Company built in 1927). To achieve sustainability and a positive impact on the community, the Client’s brief was to retain and enhance the original building.

The new scintillating tapestry took inspiration from the existing neo-Art Deco style of the building. Retaining much of the existing façade, the rectangular openings were re-proportioned, and included a visually captivating ventilation screen that blocked out the rain and reduced visibility of the carpark lights. The angular approach was derived from the V-shaped fluting on the original façade. The three-dimensionality was required to manage the rain ingress and sun insolation. The retro ‘classical’ look allowed the retrofitted office building to distinguish it from the typically glassy façades along Robinson Road.

The project involved an A&A to a live office building within an MRT reserve. Precaution had to be taken to ensure that works did not affect the tenants or impact the substructure. The carpark and main lobby access had to be maintained at all times.

Designing for maximum efficiency and modularity, the three-dimensional aluminium screen adopted 2 components to form 1 module comprising 3 metallic colours. This simple yet clever iteration created a scintillating layer that emphasised the podium expression. The modular construction also allowed for easy coordination during construction and eliminated errors.

61 Robinson continues by emphasising the podium that is the streetscape expression of Afro Asia and Robinson Point on either side. The verticality of the screens continued to the top of the podium, breaking through the original clerestory of the building and accentuated by scallop-like endings at the top. At the ground level, the one-storey high base pilaster is expressed in black granite.

Jury Citation

It is quite the challenge to introduce a new, strong, formal language as an intervention within an existing Post-Modern Art-Deco building. A simple and systematic intervention in this project results in a façade that is stunning yet modest and subtle. For a design scope that is limited to façade rejuvenation, the design achieves maximum impact within its ambit.