Tanjong Pagar Centre as part of the Singapore skyline; Tanjong Pagar Centre as part of the Singapore skyline;

Guoco Tower, Singapore

Raising the bar in Singapore’s CBD

At 290m, Guoco Tower is the tallest building in Singapore – a vertical city which is injecting new life and drawing people to a vibrant new space to live, work and play in the City’s business centre.

We engineered this 156,000m2 mixed use development which has direct access to the Tanjong Pagar Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) metro station and comprises a dynamic combination of commercial, residential, retail and hotel amenities.

The urban park on the ground level allows people to unwind amid lush greenery and a fully integrated City Room, which is naturally ventilated and features a 15m high ceiling, making it the perfect venue for recreational and lifestyle events.

With vast experience in the design of tall buildings, we delivered practical and sustainable solutions to realise the architectural complexity of this skyscraper within a dense CBD environment: the site is bounded by four roads, gazetted heritage shophouses and an operational MRT station.

Across the development, Arup provided structural and façade engineering, and environmentally sustainable design.

Project Summary

290m Guoco Tower is the tallest building in Singapore

31%Estimated energy savings compared to similar code-compliant buildings

150,000sq ftSize of urban park and green spaces within the development

Overcoming complex building design

The building’s scale, coupled with changing geometry at several levels, made for complex design and construction. Large steel plates with shear studs were embedded in the concrete corewall to ensure that horizontal ‘kick-out’ forces were transferred to the core wall directly and effectively. We also designed an innovative transfer plate and belt-wall system that tied together and stabilised the residential and office towers, which sits atop one another. These solutions realised the architecture and ambitious scale without compromising the building’s structural integrity.

© Ying Yi Photography

Seamless MRT integration

Direct access from the MRT to Guoco Tower was a result of our proposal to connect the three-level basement to the station’s structure. Coupled with construction phasing, this three-basement structure doubled as a retaining wall, and allowed construction to continue while minimising disruptions to existing retail and MRT operations. Arup also worked with the contractor to develop a full top-down construction approach at the basement levels, providing robust support to the excavation. This method streamlined basement construction processes and saved both time and costs.

Located in the heart of Tanjong Pagar, the centre has injected more vibrancy into the area with the direct MRT connection and integration with the people-centred City Room and park. Beyond breaking the record for the tallest building in Singapore, what our client, valued partners and Arup created has helped to raise the profile of the area. And we’re encouraged by the crowds drawn to the area for more reasons than just a typical CBD environment. ” See Lin Ming, Arup See Lin Ming Buildings Group Leader, Singapore

Greening in the Garden City

This iconic skyscraper is at the forefront of sustainable developments in Southeast Asia. There are photovoltaic solar panels for renewable energy on the roofs and rainwater is harvested to irrigate the extensive greenery. As a result, there is almost zero storm water run-offs during rain events. As a health benefit, fresh air is also delivered to interior spaces at a rate that is 30% higher than conventional office buildings.

© Ying Yi Photography

For the City Room – the project’s centrepiece – we studied the thermal comfort criteria which informed the design of the canopy and the performance of the glass roof and fans. A combination of the canopy’s geometry, the glass material and the use of fans, created an events space that is comfortable all year round. Building-integrated photovoltaic technology is also embedded into the canopy’s glass, permitting soft light to filter through while capturing the energy from the sun.

Guoco Tower has been awarded Green Mark Platinum and LEED Platinum certifications for the office and commercial spaces, and Green Mark GoldPlus for the residential category – setting the precedent for sustainability and innovation on future tall building developments in Singapore.

A project of this scale involved working across Arup’s multidisciplinary services and offices, and externally with our client, authorities and partners. This was not just about the realisation of a complex engineering design, but also about the alliances and relationships that we’ve built and sustained from the beginning. ” See Lin Ming, Arup See Lin Ming Buildings Group Leader, Singapore

© Ying Yi Photography

Guoco Tower has won several awards, including the following accolades: 

  1. ACES Design Excellence Award 2018 (Winner)

  2. The Institution of Structural Engineers Singapore Structural Awards 2018 - Tall or Slender Structures category (Winner)

  3. Building and Construction Authority (BCA) - Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award 2018 (Winner)

  4. SSSS Structural Steel Excellence Award 2016 (Merit)