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A new integrated development showcasing the latest technologies is helping cement Singapore's role as a major information communication technology and media hub

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As a gateway to Asia, Singapore has long been a centre for trade and commerce. Its geographical location, investor-friendly tax system and global network of free trade agreements make it an ideal base for large multinational companies, with many firms from North America, Europe, Japan and other parts of Asia using the country as a launching pad for the world market.

In recent years, Singapore has also been positioning itself as a research and development centre for precision engineering, and information and communication technology (ICT). The country's sophisticated market and strong intellectual property protection have enabled the ICT and media industries to flourish.

Not surprisingly, commercial developments are keeping pace with the emergence of Singapore as a digital media hub. JTC Corporation is at the forefront of these developments – the agency has introduced a number of leading-edge real estate solutions to anchor important activities critical to the growth of the economy. The latest key development, one-north, is currently being built on 200ha of land strategically located near the National University of Singapore and Singapore Science Park.

Part of a larger technology hub, and designed by internationally renowned architect Zaha Hadid, one-north will ultimately provide a large cluster of integrated, mixed-use commercial and residential developments over 200ha. JTC says the project targets the biomedical, ICT, media, science and engineering industries, and is aimed at providing a hotspot for innovation and test bedding. It is designed to be an intellectually stimulating and creative niche environment for scientists, entrepreneurs and researchers.

Fusionopolis, the building featured on these pages, is the second major JTC development to come on stream at one-north. Designed by the late Kisho Kurokawa, Fusionopolis provides specialised facilities for the ICT, media, physical sciences and engineering industries. It is also the first integrated development in one-north, offering a lively mix of residential apartments, commercial space and retail facilities.

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Phase One of the project comprises two towers – Symbiosis and Connexis. These are linked by sky bridges, a glass-topped public concourse and a central, spherical theatre pod, which accommodates the Genexis Theatre.

The structural system incorporates reinforced concrete corewalls and large-span megatrusses that allow column-free interiors, to provide design flexibility for tenants. Key structural components are deliberately expressed in the external elevations, where they create a banding at the sky bridge levels.

The design team says the architectural and structural concepts are inherently linked. Both function symbiotically to achieve the aesthetic and technical demands of the project.

The Genexis Theatre, designed by a consortium comprising Arup Singapore, WOHA Architects and Theatreplan LLP, is suspended between the 5th and 10th storeys of the two towers and supported on a single slab column.

A clear, double-glazed curtain wall system provides a sleek skin to the buildings. With its ceramic frit patterns and low emissive coatings, the curtain wall also meets the requirement for an environmentally friendly building, providing shading, energy efficiency and thermal comfort.

Other key features of the towers include distinctive curved roofs that wrap the exterior and peel back down the facade. The design also provides sky gardens on several levels.

Because the master plan concept called for close buildings and high-density, narrow pedestrian streets, privacy was an issue. The landscaped areas and roof gardens not only visually soften the exterior but also help provide buffer zones for apartment and office interiors. In addition, the frit patterns on the glass help retain a level of privacy for residents while ensuring the views are not compromised.

The lower five stories of Fusionopolis are given over to a recreational hub, which houses retail, food and beverage outlets, and restaurants. Large oval-shaped openings create voids in the public concourse that links the two buildings. The voids allow light from the multifaceted glass roof to filter through to all the levels.

A smaller glass-covered concourse leads to the 560-seat Genexis Theatre. Designed to present a more organic form, the theatre lobby is lined with an undulating timber rib structure, which wraps the walls and extends across the ceiling. There is also a 400,000 timber bead acoustic wall lining within the theatre. Retractable seating ensures the theatre has the flexibility to accommodate a range of events, from performances to seminars and product launches.

First published date: 21 September 2009

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Credit List

Location Fusionopolis Phase One, one-north, Singapore
Developer JTC Corporation
Master planner Zaha Hadid
Design architect Kisho Kurokawa Architect & Associates Project architect, lead consultant, project manager, structural and
M&E engineer, and quantity surveyor Jurong Consultants
Substructure contractor Greatearth – United Engineers JV
Superstructure contractor Shimizu Corporation
Interior designer Mink Tan Architects
Lighting consultant Arup Singapore
Theatre consultant Arup Acoustic; WOHA Architects; Theatre Plan LLP
Landscape consultant Symbios Design
Signage consultant Duffy and Asylum
Security consultant Cisco
Facade consultant Hyder Consulting
Awards International Green Roof Association (IGRA) Award for Sustainable Architecture 2009