Developer: City Developments Limited
* Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
* ADDP Architects LLP
By Colin Galloway
The elegant, twin-tower New Futura is a high-end, 124-unit residential project located not far from the city-centre Orchard Road shopping district of Singapore. Built by local developer City Developments Limited (CDL), it replaces an earlier complex (the ‘Futura’) that previously stood on the same site, and features a look that echoes the personality of the original iconic design.
As to be expected of a modern luxury development, New Futura boasts any number of high-quality details and fixtures, from private lift access to top-of-the line interiors.
However, the appeal for the jury was not so much the buildings’ premium fitout and design, as the way that CDL committed to incorporate an array of sustainability aspects, in the process absorbing construction costs of some 3%-5% over the norm. Developers of most premium for-sale residential projects in Singapore will routinely cut corners in terms of green design because there is little incentive to invest in features whose long-term benefits will accrue only to the buyers of the units.
Key sustainability strategies embraced by designers include a passive-cooling building design embodied in its horizontal sun-shading fins and low-emissivity double-glazing, rainwater harvesting for landscape irrigation, pneumatic waste disposal, and extensive use of energy-saving and other sustainable devices integrated in the structure on a lifecycle basis, including in the choice of construction materials. Widespread use of pre-cast elements and prefabricated bathrooms were adopted to improve efficiency and construction quality. The project holds BCA’s Green Mark GoldPLUS Award.
Other distinctive New Futura features are the three ‘sky decks’ incorporated into each tower, providing residents access to landscaped open-air platforms at various floor levels. Sky decks are not uncommon in Singaporean high rises, partly because the tropical climate favours cultivation of lush, year-round, vegetation, and partly because enlightened planning guidelines encourage developers to include them by making such spaces GFA-exempted.
In addition, the developer has gone the extra mile to be a good neighbour to other developments in the vicinity. Great care was taken in calculating the optimal orientation of the towers’ structures so they do not form a ‘superblock’ obscuring views from neighbouring developments. The extensive landscaping was also planned to conserve existing large trees and otherwise allow onsite greenery to be enjoyed from surrounding perspectives. In general, the site is designed to be porous, allowing it to be viewed from the street and the general environs rather than creating a walled enclosure that excludes outsiders.