Conceived by architect Moshe Safdie, Marina Bay Sands® is an exciting new development in the heart of Marina Bay - Singapore’s new downtown. It integrates the prestigious waterfront promenade with iconic retail, entertainment and hotel facilities, public spaces and breathtaking city views.
Boasting the world’s longest public cantilever, the SkyPark® is an engineering marvel. The rooftop superstructure is sited 200m high straddling three 55-storey luxury hotel towers. The structure is 38m wide and 340m long – equivalent to four and a half A380 aircraft.
Arup is responsible for multidisciplinary engineering including advanced works, infrastructure, structural, civil, fire and geotechnical engineering, building physics, maritime engineering, traffic, lighting design, façade and acoustic consulting and risk management.
"Every element of the project is technically challenging to design and build" explains Cheong Va-Chan, Arup’s Project Director.
The basements were constructed in deep marine clays, the SkyPark® features the world’s longest public cantilever and the lotus-inspired museum is a geometrically-challenging structure. Site works were densely packed, creating complex staging and interface issues.
Arup adopted innovative 3D modelling technologies, pushing the boundaries of current software and systems.
These modelling techniques provided a significant reduction in modelling time, better coordinated documents, rapid concept evaluation, optimised designs, visualisation of complex technical issues and improved communication with the client.
Responsible for engineering all aspects of Marina Bay Sands® and the Sands SkyPark®, Arup designed and tested structures to ensure the viability of Moshe Safdie’s adventurous designs.
Arup had to overcome a number of structural challenges. The design allowed for safe and easy construction in the deep marine clays at basement level and at the great heights of the SkyPark®. A combination of bridge design and building technology was used to achieve this.
Arup is closely involved in several Marina Bay developments including The Singapore Flyer, The Helix, The Waterfront Promenade and Gardens by the Bay.
"Much time and analytical effort was invested by our bridge and dynamics specialists to ensure Arup understood the complex behavior of wind and human movement on the structures" explains Brendon McNiven, Design Leader for the Sands SkyPark®.
Arup had to ensure the SkyPark® withstood strong winds and vibration caused by people movement and provided optimal comfort for occupants.
"The dynamic properties of a structure are particularly hard to predict as many elements of the structure and architectural finishes contribute to this" Brendon continues. "Arup designed large tuned mass dampers to act in a similar manner to shock absorbers within the belly of the SkyPark® and carried out large scale vibration tests to verify the design."
Challenging fire and life safety issues had to be addressed due to the large numbers of people expected in the gaming, retail and convention facilities.
“This is the most complex, radical fire engineering project anywhere in the world,” says André Lovatt, Singapore’s Fire Engineering Leader. The levels of public safety achieved are unparalleled and the project highlights fire engineering as key to facilitating remarkable architectural design.
An important aspect of the fire safety strategy was based on minimising fire and smoke spread through the building to reduce business interruption. A performance-based approach permitted the use of unprotected steel structure for the SkyPark® and hotel atria, as well as the use of horizontal exits and monumental exit stairs for the first time in Singapore.
Natural and individual movement
Another challenge facing the design team was connecting the SkyPark® with the three 55-storey towers on which it rests, allowing for the natural and individual movement of each tower. Five distinct joining plates cater for this movement.