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Bamboo Forests Inspire Singapore’s Mixed-Use Tower Project

by Ron Bernthal

Jan 27, 2023


Asia / Singapore

Envisioned as one of Asia’s most sustainable skyscrapers, a proposed 63-story, mixed-use downtown development project in Singapore takes cues from bamboo forests to create an indoor-outdoor vertical community with public spaces, offices, retail, a hotel, event spaces and luxury residences.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed 8 Shenton Way to anchor the intersection of Singapore’s Central Business District and Marina Bay, the historic Tanjong Pagar neighborhood, and the emerging Greater Southern Waterfront. When fully completed in 2028, the building will become Singapore’s tallest skyscraper, elevating the city’s lush tropical landscape from street level into the sky.



With expansive public spaces, offices, retail, a hotel and luxury residences offering panoramic views of the South China Sea, the project will be a vibrant 24/7 hub for residents, businesses and leisure and business travelers. Its proximity (a 15-minute walk) to the city’s Tanjong Pagar district, known for its Michelin-recommended restaurants, and to the heritage district to the north, will be a big draw.

“8 Shenton Way will be the newest landmark on the Singapore skyline—a next generation tower for the city,” said Mustafa Abadan, partner, SOM. “Designed specifically with the tropical climate of Singapore in mind, this building will be one of the first post-pandemic mixed-use towers in the world, with health and wellness as its primary design drivers. By seeking to achieve the city’s newest and most rigorous sustainability standards, our design will establish a new paradigm for resilient and elegant high-rise design in Singapore and beyond.”

rendering terrace


The tower is inspired by bamboo forests, a biophilic design echoing vertical elements found in nature. Materials were chosen to minimize both embodied and operational carbon, from the zero-waste manufacture of terracotta to the use of engineered bamboo. The project seeks the highest sustainability certification in the region and is the first building project under the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore’s Central Business District Incentive Scheme with such a diversity of components.

A public performance and events space with retail, seating and bike racks will activate the street. Landscaping will extend from the street into the building, creating a seamless green corridor for pedestrians. On the building’s ground floor, a public plaza space opens to the street. On the second floor, restaurants overlook green spaces, hosting plants that attract birds and butterflies. On the second floor, an open-air green space with restaurants offers room to gather, surrounded by a biodiverse landscape with plants chosen specifically to attract birds and butterflies. In total, the design includes more than 106,000 square feet of elevated, public green space.



The building facade is characterized by Champagne-colored terracotta and bamboo along the walls of the sky gardens, with curved edges creating bay windows on nearly every floor, offering views of the city and the sea. In the lobby, wood, stone and terracotta finishes flank artwork and a reflecting pool, with a multifloor atrium framing the space above. Landscaped gardens are located throughout the height of the tower, giving building occupants ample room for an outdoor escape in the sky. There are seven terraces altogether, including one for the hotel floors and three for the residential levels. Carved out of the building every five to six floors, the gardens bring light, air and natural ventilation to prioritize wellbeing.

Across more than 1.6 million square feet of floor space, 8 Shenton Way incorporates a variety of post-pandemic features, prioritizing tenants and visitors’ health. Contactless technology; antimicrobial materials; enhanced natural air flow and filtration; adaptable interior spaces; and large, landscaped outdoor spaces collectively create a robust offering of healthier, wellness-focused spaces in the heart of the city.

To encourage more sustainable modes of transit, the project will connect to Singapore’s subterranean pedestrian network, including direct underground connectivity to the Tanjong Pagar Mass Rapid Transit station, as well as two additional MRT stations within a five-minute walk —  Maxwell MRT Station, which will serve Thomson-East Coast Line, has already opened, and the Prince Edward MRT Station, which will close the loop between Harborfront and Marina Bay MRT stations by 2026.


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