Additions and Alterations to St James Power Station

DESIGN AWARD

Award Category: Special Categories

Architecture Firm:

W Architects Pte Ltd

Project Architect:

Mok Wei Wei

Year Completed:

2022

Builder Firm:

Lum Chang Interior Pte Ltd

The restoration works at St James Power Station focus on emphasizing the architectural merits for which the building is being preserved and its importance as a representative of early British industrial style architecture. Internally, the architectural intent focuses on preserving the original spatial quality unique to the building typology of a power station, while intensifying its gross floor area for modern office use. Externally, the focus is on creating an appropriate setting upon which the grandeur and clarity of the Monument and its façade can be appreciated.

In refurbishing the Monument for office use, new floor slabs with independent columns are sensitively inserted in response to the original architectural spaces and features. Large atrium spaces are introduced at various locations in the Monument to retain the feeling of the large cavernous spaces, with skylights introduced at strategic locations for daylighting. The original façade with its large glazed windows is also allowed to be viewed internally by setting back the new floor slabs. The original steel columns and roof trusses are restored, with the metal roof replaced.

The fair-faced brickwork of the historic façade is carefully and meticulously restored to undo the wear and tear over the years. The large window frames around the external façade, originally constructed in steel but changed to aluminium subsequently in the mid-2000s, were restored back to steel, with profiles similar to the vintage work. The profile of the frames is enlarged to allow the introduction of double-glazed glass to achieve the performance required of an environmentally sustainable modern office.

The original cluttered foreground is cleared to create a park-like setting to showcase the grand façades of the monument. A covered walkway linking the buildings and drop-off porch is carefully scaled to meet the functional requirements, while not marring the presence of the monument.

Jury Citation

The Jury commends the architects for embracing the complexity and scale of this building, where the interior and exterior spaces are executed masterfully and with great attention, down to the level of construction detailing. The introduction of exterior entrance gardens and drop-off colonnade help establish and define a refreshingly new setting in which the conserved building now sits. New insertions and voids work harmoniously together. For a conservation project, there is design finesse around technicalities that allow for the resolution of visual lines, and the excellent integration of interior and exterior spaces, the new with the old.