SYNERGISING INTO SINGAPORE’S CIVIC DISTRICT
The project site is an integral part of Singapore’s Civic District, an area that is undergoing rejuvenation to further enhance its vibrancy as a thriving cultural and lifestyle precinct. To create a mixed-use retail environment, the design team has created a live-work-play lifestyle centre that fosters connections with its users through lively social and cultural activities in an inviting public space. Funan carries an array of programmes such as retail; offices; co-living serviced residences; black box theatre; fitness gym and pool; rock-climbing wall; a cycle path; cinemas; as well as an urban farm. A 50-lane indoor climbing wall extends from basement two to level two, with the highest climb at 15 metres.
TREE OF LIFE
The Tree of Life is the welcoming centrepiece design that creates a visual focus within the retail loop; a physical manifestation of the spirit to foster upcoming brands. Extending from basement two to level four, the multifaceted steel structure seeks to promote new forms of retail and entrepreneurship culture, as well as experimentation and social learning. To allow for maximum versatility in the floor plan, it uses flexible partitions to cater to programmatic changes. Fixtures systems adopt an industrial design with exposed steel structures and mesh balustrades enlivened by greenery.
The ground floor features Singapore’s first cycle path through a building. It is designed as a porous streetscape with multiple access points and gentle slopes that are wheelchair-accessible. The exterior flooring finishes continue to the interior, highlighting a seamless connection to the city. As the building connects to the MRT, it is vital to allow for easy access and orientation. Corridor visibility was carefully considered—structural columns have been tucked behind shopfronts for clear sightlines, which also maximises retail value. The communal grand staircase on level one is a focal point where the basketball court, bicycle path, stage, and office entrance lobby converge.
Voice-activated interactive directories are located at escalators and lift lobbies of every level to facilitate wayfinding. NFC technology allows the transfer of directions from directory to personal smartphones. Parking lots are located close to the lift lobbies for convenience, and staircase handrails have Braille indicators.
The site is adjacent to Fort Canning Park, the green lungs of Singapore’s CBD. The project becomes a conduit that connects the urban context to the lush green park—areas such as the rock climbing wall at the base of the Tree of Life and the cycling bridge have greenery incorporated within. The skylight frit pattern minimises glare and heat gain on the upper levels of the podium, accommodating for comfortable lighting levels while balancing the amount of natural light for indoor plants to grow on the lower levels. Fully operable windows on the connector floor and alfresco dining areas are used to blur the boundaries between interior and exterior.
With growing online sales, Funan seeks to characterise how digital and physical retail coexist and complement tomorrow’s consumers and economy by engaging technology in an integrated experience. A proprietary mobile application platform allows online access to services, including an in-app electronic payment feature to make purchases, booking of the futsal court and movie tickets, as well as a car park feature for drivers to reserve parking lots. Working professionals benefit from the latest facial recognition technology for cardless access to offices. Sensors are placed throughout the mall, providing data on shopping traffic and demographics through video analytics, allowing retailers to tailor personalised offerings to customers.
The challenge was to design a high-performance, high-density development that fits into a small footprint with height limitations. Efficiency is achieved through innovation in construction methods and the choice of building materials and equipment, where a virtual design and construction software was applied at the onset of the construction process. The design of the Tree of Life was studied with BIM software to allow for both steel structure and interior design elements to be sequenced and prefabricated. Precast concrete structural building components were used to further reduce construction time.
Project Name: Funan Mall
Location: 107 North Bridge Road, Singapore
Completion Date: June 2019
Site Area: 124,500 square feet
Gross Floor Areas: 507,000 square feet (six-storey retail); 260,000 square feet (Grade A offices)
Building Height (storeys; metres): Six-storey retail component; two six-storey office blocks; two levels of basement carpark (B3 and B4)
Developer: CapitaLand Mall Trust
Architecture Firm: RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd
Executive Architect: RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd
Design Consultant:Woods Bagot Asia Ltd
Interior Design Firm: Woods Bagot Asia Ltd
Civil & Structural Engineer: RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Alpha Consulting Engineers Pte Ltd
Quantity Surveyor: Arcadis Singapore Pte Ltd
Lighting Consultant: Nipek Pte Ltd
Landscape Architect: Grant Associates Singapore Pte Ltd
Green Building Consultant: Building System and Diagnostics Pte Ltd
Demolition Contractor: Neo & Goh Construction
Main Contractors: Woh Hup – Obayashi Singapore Joint Venture (JV)
Interior Fit-Out Contractors: Woh Hup – Obayashi Singapore Joint Venture (JV); Design Studio Group Ltd
Images: Woods Bagot Asia Ltd