The opening of Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) in 2019 marked a milestone completion of a new regional hub at the core of the rejuvenated Paya Lebar central. A mixed-use development located in the east of Singapore, PLQ forms a key part of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s decentralisation plan to reduce peak hour city-centre traffic congestion and bring jobs closer to home.
This 168,100m2 live-work-play development comprises four plots weaving commercial, retail, residential and park components into a single tapestry. The retail mall is also directly connected to the underground Paya Lebar Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) interchange station, linking commuters to the East-West Line and Circle Line rail networks.
Compared to other ‘regional hubs’ in Singapore’s west, in Jurong, northeast in Punggol and north in Woodlands, Paya Lebar is the closest by proximity to the Central Business District.
This verdant mixed-use development also features 9,290 m2 of green public spaces, jogging and cycling paths and bicycle parking, which are integrated with Singapore’s wider Park Connection Network. In 2017, it was the first development in the country to achieve a Platinum rating – the highest rating – under the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore’s updated version of Green Mark for Non-Residential Buildings. Park Place Residences at PLQ, the residential component, was also awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum for Residential Buildings.
Commissioned by Lendlease, Arup provided Civil, Structural, Geotechnical, Façade and Fire engineering, Transport and Sustainability consulting, and Lighting Design services, working with our partners to realise this project in an extremely tight construction programme. PLQ was fast-tracked to completion, opening in phases, with the final residential component completing in the last quarter of 2019.
3.9Ha mixed-use development
3timesmore trees planted than there were previously on site
30%or more energy savings on all buildings
Connecting people to places
PLQ is the only development in Paya Lebar that offers commuters direct underground access to the MRT from the mall. To create the direct connection, multiple teams at Arup worked together to realise the 20m excavation, conducted close to existing MRT structures, and in ground conditions with thick marine clay. We also designed a diaphragm wall with a soil improvement layer and proposed a full top-down construction method to enhance productivity and accelerate construction time to meet the tight construction programme. We also proposed a design to omit steel strutting, recommending instead, to use permanent structures as strutting. This reduced the costs and minimised the movement of the wall and the impact on the adjacent MRT station.
This was a challenging and fulfilling project that helped complete the central part of the urban regeneration vision for Paya Lebar. I’m proud to see the different retail, commercial and residential components of PLQ come together, adding more life and bringing more people together to this dynamic, new precinct. ” Rudi Lioe Project Manager
A place under the canopy
The plaza, which extends lifestyle options from the adjacent mall to the outdoors, is a social, alfresco setting for people to enjoy food, drinks and activities. Beneath the surface of this plaza is a canal, which had been transformed from a 12m open channel to a 25m-wide closed and covered box canal with a new drainage system. The new canal was designed with structural systems that were efficient to construct within the fast-tracked programme.
This all-weather outdoor space is sheltered by an Ethylene Tetra Flouro Ethylene canopy, which we helped shape, along with the unique armadillo-like façade of the mall that gives the retail building its distinctive identity. Across the development, our lighting designs also accentuate the architecture and inject vibrancy to this next-generation hub to live, work, shop and play.
Creating a sustainable precinct
PLQ offers a biophilic landscape integrated with terraced rain gardens, blue-green cascade landscapes and a water fountain at the heart of the public realm, connecting people to the development’s urban park and greenery. The public realm is interwoven with the wider Park Connector Network in the Paya Lebar precinct, and features cycling and walking paths as well as end-of-trip facilities, which encourage active mobility and alternative transportation modes.
We proposed solutions that helped reduce solar heat gain and overall cooling load, which translated to cost savings for the client. We also helped to optimise and improve the thermal performance of the building envelope through the proposed use of shading devices and high-performance low-e Double Glazing Unit (DGU) glass. These measures, in addition to efficient water plant, air distribution, and lighting systems, improved the overall building performance by 30% more than similar code-compliant buildings.
Working closely with Lendlease, we worked on the pilot study that helped develop the revised Green Mark for New Non-Residential Buildings, launched in 2015. PLQ was later awarded Platinum, the highest accolade, for the BCA Green Mark for New Non-Residential Buildings NRB: 2015. This updated certification for non-residential buildings recognises holistic sustainable measures that go beyond improvements to overall building performance to address occupants’ health and wellbeing. The residential component also received Platinum for the Green Mark for Residential Buildings.