Sail of the Century

August 10, 2006 · by DesignIntelligence

City Developments Limited, the Sail @ Marina Bay Residences. Singapore. Completion 2008.

City Developments Limited, the Sail @ Marina Bay Residences. Singapore. Completion 2008.

NBBJ/Bruce Mau Design

The Singapore government wants Singapore to become a global city. It is already a gateway city. Within the radius of seven hours' flying time you have two billion people traveling.
Kwek Leng Beng
Executive Chairman,
City Developments Limited (CDL)

Singapore is in constant competition with Shanghai and Hong Kong and we, as architects, can help Singapore compete.
Peter Pran
Principal, NBBJ

To survive in a competitive world, we need to be a few steps ahead. The business sector must take advantage of the government environment and achieve not only our own private vision but the vision of Singapore as a whole.

When he first met us, Chairman Kwek told us he wanted a building that represents Singapore's future.
Timothy Johnson
Partner, NBBJ

People love waterfronts, and Singapore is the only major city in South-East Asia that has one. The government wanted to build a new financial city facing the sea, like Canary Wharf. We decided to pioneer residential living on Singapore's waterfront.

Singapore's central business district has been a 9 to 5 enclave. This is the first housing project to be built there. This will diversify activity and stretch the life within this area to 24/7.

When you arrive in a city your first impression is the skyline. You never forget your first look at New York's skyscrapers. I wanted something that any visitor coming to Singapore would remember Singapore by.

We asked ourselves, "What's unique about Singapore as a place? It's an island. Being on the water, the wind is always there. And it's nearly on the equator so the sun is intense. Water, wind, and sun "shaped" the building.

Most developers will not do this kind of building because it costs 35 percent more than usual. I was prepared to spend 35 percent more because I believe we can sell it better as an iconic building.

If they are well received, buildings create a cultural statement for a city. Early in the 20th century the Bauhaus movement thought architecture was the cure to all social ills. It may not be that but it can transform a society.

Because our population is so small we need a lot of foreign talent living here to help Singapore grow faster. In the old days, the residential market had 20 percent foreign buyers, mainly from Asia. The Sail @Marina Bay has slightly more than 40 percent foreign buyers, from as far away as the UK and the US. It has changed Singapore to be more international in its development.

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