Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers
Owner: Kerry Asia Pacific
Construction Manager: Gilbane Building Company
The project is located in Singapore on the second floor of a mid-rise building in a newly developed technology park. The first two floors of the building enjoy the shady overhang of the building’s mass above and floor-to-ceiling frameless glass exterior walls. This transparent volume appears to hang from the massive building above, while gaining from its enclosure. Originally designed as two separate tenant spaces in an east and west wing, the 40,000 square foot floor plate is divided by three open air bridges that connect distinct glass volumes.
The client is a food and beverage production company with research and technology centers in Southeast Asia. The project consolidates the technology centers at this location and serves as a regional center for product development done in interactive fashion with the client. This centralization not only improves recruitment, but increases resource sharing. The Technology Center is also a capabilities showcase for clients who are exposed to the depth and breadth of the company in a high tech environment.
In addition to providing a customer-focused center of excellence, the clients wished to encourage teamwork and skills sharing. With employees from culturally diverse and competitive business units, the project was designed to encourage personal relationships and break down the traditional hierarchical structure present in the region.
The space program includes interactive customer engagement kitchens, research and development labs, office space and related amenities.
Two identifiable wood volumes, one in each wing, give significance to the activities within them: customer engagement kitchens in one and a communal cafe in the other. These volumes also link the separate spaces together aesthetically and are seen from the street below as such. They are a backdrop for a graphics campaign on the exterior walls that vividly proclaim the client’s presence in the space on the street.
The segregated configuration of the tenant space was used as a natural organizer for the client’s programmatic functions. The east wing houses the visitor entry, the customer engagement suites and administrative offices. Accessed by outdoor bridges, the west wing houses the communal coffee bar, research labs and their associated offices. A customer route was crafted to protect intellectual property while putting research on display. A brightly colored wall serves as a threshold to the labs and a backdrop for a graphics program coordinated with that of the exterior walls.
The communal cafe is located in the center of the plan, in a room that extends out over the street below. The daylight filled space allows for a lively collaboration of work, which was not conducive previously.
The project was accomplished by a U.S. firm without an office overseas. The project team collaborated carefully with the chosen design build firm to ensure that concept and detail alike were executed as intended.
The project was designed and constructed in eight months. This time frame included preliminary site selection, programming and detailed design of the technical spaces. These spaces were finely tuned to specific technologies, eliminated redundancies and permitted resource and equipment sharing. Lean programming and planning was critical in one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets.
Photos: CI&A Photography