Who Are The Power Players That Own The Singapore Cityscape?
What little space Singapore has, it has dedicated to glorious architectural constructions of sophistication mixed with heritage. We select several and dig deeper to find the masterminds who own them.
German architect Ole Scheeren dreamed the hexagonally stacked apartments of The Interlace in Depot Road into being when he was heading Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture. The residential development by CapitaLand Singapore, which consists of 1,040 units in 31 apartment blocks, was named the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival 2015.
Marina Bay Sands
Arguably the most recognised structure in our skyline, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation-owned Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, designed by Israeli-born architect Moshe Safdie, dominates central Singapore with a 2,561‑room hotel complete with a distinctive horizontal rooftop sky park, a convention centre, a casino, a shopping mall, a lotus-shaped museum, theatres and crystal pavilions.
Formerly known as the Orchard Turn Development, the Ion Orchard mall now boasts 66,000sqm of retail space and over 300 stores. CapitaLand Mall Asia and Hong Kong-based property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties engaged leading architecture firm Benoy to create its now-iconic undulating facade.
The iconic Capitol Theatre was revived, along with its adjoining buildings Stamford House and Capitol Building, as an integrated luxury lifestyle development in 2015 by its current owners Perennial Real Estate Holdings and Chesham Properties, an affiliate of private luxury developer Pontiac Land Group. It houses the luxurious Eden Residences Capitol, six‑star hotel The Patina, Capitol Singapore, shopping and dining destination Capitol Piazza, and the Capitol Theatre.
For many years, Chyau Fwu Development-owned Parkview Square, nicknamed Gotham City after the Batman building, stood tall on North Bridge Road with no peers—neither in height nor style. Completed in 2002, the 24-storey art deco-inspired office building was designed by US firm James Adams Design and Singapore’s DP Architects.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
Completed in 1928 during the British colonial rule, the Fullerton Building once housed Singapore’s General Post Office and several government departments. In 1997, it was transformed into a 400-room heritage hotel by Hong Kong-based Sino Land, the sister company of Singapore’s Far East Organization, and was officially reopened as The Fullerton Hotel Singapore four years later. The landmark within the city’s central business district was gazetted by the National Heritage Board in 2015 as Singapore’s 71st National Monument.
Haw Par Villa
The 3.2ha theme park in Pasir Panjang was originally called Tiger Balm Gardens and was built in 1937 by the people behind the medical ointment Tiger Balm. It was acquired and given a facelift by the Singapore Tourism Board in 1985 and continues to thrill its visitors with over 1,000 colourful statues and tableaux depicting the 10 Courts of Hell as told in Chinese folklore.
Standing at a height of 165m, the Singapore Flyer was once the world’s largest observation wheel until the 550ft tall High Roller in Las Vegas beat its record in 2014. That same year, Straco Leisure, the subsidiary of Singapore mainboard-listed Straco Corporation, acquired it. The tourist attraction has 28 air-conditioned capsules and each one is able to accommodate 28 passengers.
Given its modern art-deco facade, it’s easy to forget that The Cathay incorporates elements of the old Cathay Building of 1939. When it debuted, it was the city’s first skyscraper, the first air-conditioned cinema and the first movie house to play American and British films. Leisure and entertainment group, Cathay Organisation, continues to own and manage the 17-storey cinema, shopping mall and apartment building.
Opened in 2015, South Beach is Singapore’s largest mixed-use development located on Beach Road. A joint venture between local property developer City Developments Limited and Malaysia’s IOI Properties Group, the development combines four heritage buildings with two new towers for offices (Facebook is an anchor tenant), luxury residences, retail spaces, an exclusive membership club and a Philippe Starck-designed JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, the city’s first JW Marriott hotel following a rebranding in May this year.
Reflections at Keppel Bay
Thanks to its curving forms, no two units of Keppel Land’s Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium are exactly alike. Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind has designed 1,129 units spread across six towers of 24 to 41 tatler_tatler_stories high, with a garden atop each one.
Illustrations: Yohei Yamaguchi