One Raffles Place Tower 2

Yasuhiro Ishino(President)/Kazuya Ishida(Principal Designer)/ Yoshihiko Tsuri(Architectural Department)

Buildings that exemplify TANGE DNA

It started with One Raffles Place Tower 1.

One Raffles Place Tower 1 is said to be monumental architecture in Singapore’s financial centre. It was completed in 1986. Designed by Kenzo Tange, it was, at the time, the tallest building in Asia at 60 floors. Looking back at this period, Tange Associates President Yasuhiro Ishino says, “We always think about the surrounding environment when designing a building and incorporate features that will enliven the project. In this way, we strive to enrich the whole area and create spaces in which people will enjoy spending time. This approach is strongly reflected in this project.” He continued with more details. “Now, this area is Singapore’s core business district, but in the early 1980s, it had yet to be developed. That was when urban planning in Singapore as a whole was just getting started. Kenzo Tange took this opportunity to create a building that attracted people and made the city buzz with activity. It connected the historically important Raffles Place with the Singapore River and incorporated a plan that optimized the flow of people. The proposal was to create a large public space on the ground level through which people would pass. I believe it was a proposal that the client would never have imagined, but the result was a building that became a city landmark that drew people to this area.”

Carrying on intentions, designing the here and now.

And then, at the beginning of the 21st century came the request to design One Raffles Place Tower 2 on the site next to One Raffles Place Tower 1. This time it was Chairman Paul Tange who was responsible for the design. The creations of father and son would stand next to each other. Architectural Department Assistant Manager Yoshihiko Tsuri notes, “Chairman Tange created a design that incorporated modernity while maintaining a balance with the 280m high Tower 1, which was already a landmark in the city. However, making this idea a reality required considerable research and discussion. The issue of balance turned out to be the most challenging.” Tange Associates President Yasuhiro Ishino comments, “The Tower 2 site was smaller than that of Tower 1, so, with this area and the floor area ratio prescribed by urban planning, it would mean that Tower 2 would have to be less than half the height of Tower 1. In the view of Tange Associates, balance is an important aspect in urban design, so we had to find a way to create a balanced composition. Design is a process of overcoming issues no matter how difficult the circumstances.”

Efforts to maintain balance.

Tange Associates design team held multiple discussions with Singapore Urban Redevelopment Authority. Ishino comments, “As with the case of our design of One Raffles Place Tower 1, Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority and Tange Associates worked together to formulate effective proposals that would enhance the area. We discussed with them the importance of balance between the two buildings from the aspect of urban design. As our discussions continued, we found ways to increase capacity. One of these options was to combine Tower 2 with the Tower 1 site and take advantage of the newly available floor area that could not be fully used by Tower 1. Furthermore, Singapore has beautifying incentives for increasing architectural capacity that allow buildings that use efficient lighting and include art features to increase their capacity. These incentives were implemented to secure the appropriate height that would achieve volumetric balance.”

Modernity in design.

Compared to Tower 1, Tower 2 cannot be said to be a large building, but its design maximizes a panoramic view of the Singapore River from indoors. Ishino explains, “We used a triangular shape and express transparency by extensive use of glass and provide a sense of exhilaration by reflecting the sky. In other words, we were able to achieve a bright and attractive space that relaxes and opens the mind.” Kenzo Tange’s design approach appears in the modern interior design. Principal Designer Kazuya Ishida, who supervised the interior design, says, “Since Tower 1 and Tower 2 would be connected, we could not have a completely different design but, at the same time, if the two Towers were identical, there would be no freshness or sense of the times. We re-read Kenzo Tange’s thoughts on design and designed Tower 2 with the intention of protecting what was valuable while adding innovative features in the design. “As a result, based on the spatial concept of ZEN, we carefully selected materials, colors, and lighting, taking the balance with Tower 1 into account. We also actively incorporated art such as the Waterfall painting that we requested from Hiroshi Senju. This Waterfall means that visitors can see and hear water when they enter the building. I think that people who have come in out of the heat feel refreshed.”

Buildings that reflect the nature of TANGE DNA+.

One Raffles Place Tower 2 was designed with an eye on the balance with Tower 1 but, on the other hand, Ishida says that Tower 1 evolved in some ways due to the construction of Tower 2. “The design of Tower 1 lobby was renovated. As mentioned, we thought about what Kenzo Tange would have done and decided that we should protect what was valuable and make adaptations for today’s needs. Since the lobby is where most people pass through, we decided that it was a good idea to add modern design to the space.”

Adding new value while honoring the past. Integrating the value from the past with modern design is the DNA of Tange Associates says Ishino. “When asked what we consider to be our best work, Tange Associates has a tradition of replying that our best project is our next project. This project, in particular, reflects this tradition. When we are constructing a new building, we propose next-generation spaces based on the history of the area. When we are renovating, after reviewing the concept of the original construction, we consider how to update the space for the next generations. This means inheriting the past but also always adding something that will work for the future. I believe that Tower 1 and Tower 2 are examples of buildings that embody the concept of TANGE DNA+.”

One Raffles Place Tower 2