M1: Urban Massing | Group 1 | Twisting Towers

Background Context

In this urban massing exercise, we were tasked to generate minimally 4 massing variants to provide 151,200 m² of area on the site as proposed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the Master Plan 2019, with planning ahead for 2050 in mind.

Fig 1.Gross Plot Ratio of 4.2 for commercial development proposed by URA in the Master Plan 2019
Fig 2. Zoning Interpretation and suggested uses for Commercial development in the Master Plan 2019.

Following this, we noticed two constraints affecting our design:

  • First, we had to construct in a site area that was relatively small and narrow.
  • Second, we had to construct a commercial building in a site that was next to a National Heritage Building – Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (TPRS).

Taking these constraints into mind, our group took three approaches into shaping our design:

  1. As proposed in our Urban Mapping analysis, we wanted to respond to new modes of traffic that would circulate the area in the future.
  2. Minimize footprint on the ground and maximizing GFA by building upwards.
  3. Take careful sensitivities into building near Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.


For our massing concept, our group felt that building towers was more advantageous than building a structure that would span the length of the site as it took up the least amount of building footprint and it would not overshadow the adjacent National Heritage Building.

We took these steps to create our massing model:

  • Linear Array
    • We first array 5 generic massing models linearly in order to conform to the linearity of the site.
  • North-South Displacement
    • We then displace the models in the North/South directions to open up a circulation path and directly connect TPRS towards the Green Corridor.
  • East-West Displacement
    • The models are then spaced apart in the east/west direction to prevent urban wall effects and minimise blockage of views towards public assets.
  • Z-Flattening
    • Noticing the importance of TPRS as a national heritage building we wanted to respect its position on the site. Thus, we flatten buildings closer to TPRS in height such that it will not overwhelm its surroundings.
  • Taper
    • The building are then tapered by extruding the profiles on the top. This benefits us as it causes lesser disruptions on the ground as well as increasing GFA on the building and usable spaces on the top.
  • Twist
    • A twist is applied on the central axis of each building to align the top profiles towards each other. This creates a canyon like effect while passing through the buildings on the ground as well.
  • Connections
    • The arms are elongated and overlapped with adjacent buildings to create better interconnectivity between buildings.
  • Embedding
    • Massing units are embedded into the buildings, allowing us to increase GFA without compromising building footprint.
  • Restoration
    • To maintain physical and historical continuity within the site, the train tracks are restored per original with the exception of the central area taken up by the buildings.
  • Adaptive Reuse
    • As majority of the building’s spaces are brought up by tapering the building, this opens up the potential of adaptive reuse of spaces on the ground, such as a central plaza between the buildings or green spaces.


Massing Options

Environmental Studies



Leave a Reply