Close Login
Register here
Forgot password
Forgot password

Close Inspiration on environmental sustainability, every month.

Currently 5,988 people are getting new inspiration every month from our global sustainability exchange. Do you want to stay informed? Fill in your e-mail address below:


Want to be kept in the loop? We will provide monthly overview of what is happening in our community along with new exciting ways on how you can contribute.

Close Reset password
your profile is 33% complete:
Update profile Close

Architecture architecture General

#Green urbanity: Marine One, Singapore.

Share this post
by: Hans van der Broek
 green urbanity  marine one  singapore

Marina One is a role model for megacities

With a larger share of green spaces than the lot area, Marina One is a role model for megacities. In the high-rise project, homes, offices and public facilities are connected in high density, in a sustainable manner that leads to a pleasant microclimate.
Overview garden with trees Marine One and buidings
On the lower layers there is a publicly accessible park that gradually passes into the towers. Picture: Darren Soh

Marina One by Ingenhoven Architects can rightly be called an impressive project. In terms of size it looks a bit like a small city. The complex is part of the new Central Business District of Singapore and offers space for 20,000 workplaces and 3,000 residents. As a 'hub project' for green urban development, it presents a strong example of sustainable architecture. In the design not only attention was paid to the creation of sufficient commercial floor space, but also valuable green urban space was integrated. In this case, instead of four obvious separate buildings, a neighborhood that was accessible to everyone around a green heart arose here. A vertical park that extends over several floors.


Singapore has grown since 1990 mainly thanks to artificial land reclamation with 8.9 percent. With the development of Marina One and many other new construction projects, it is currently undergoing a radical transformation from a 'Garden City' to a 'City in a Garden'. The city state, which in the sixties was still regarded as one of the most unhealthiest places in the world, has since grown into an international economic hotspot. To ensure that Singapore remains attractive for living and working in the future, there is now also a lot of attention for improving the quality of life.

Marina Bay

Marina Bay is located directly to the west of the old city center and is without doubt one of the largest and most prominent new neighborhoods in the area. Where empty yards and railroads still existed in the 1990s, the new Central Business District has been realized since 2006 under the watchful eye of government agency Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

And ambitious goals are envisaged for this new business district. Strict energy guidelines and higher requirements for public and green spaces apply to all new building projects. The publicly accessible areas must occupy at least 25 percent of the plot surface, the green spaces at least one hundred percent. For the energy requirements even a national standard, the 'Green Mark Standard', has been created. With its unlimited authority, the URA is a unique planning body that investors have the opportunity to join and which, unlike many other countries, is also much more active in establishing and maintaining development goals.
Looking upward between leaves from trees to the buidings of Marine One
The wavy facade is continued on all sides

Rice terraces

Here, the URA uses so-called 'studies', for which architects are asked without knowledge of the concrete location, but on the basis of very concrete planning guidelines to develop interesting ideas and to submit them to a committee. Marina One also resulted from such a study. Christoph Ingenhoven, who together with local architect Michael Ngu of architects a61 on the Robinson Road created a remarkable office building in 2009, initially received only basic information about a plot that provided space for four blocks of one hundred by one hundred meters and was split up. through two streets of twenty to twenty-five meters wide.

Instead of an obvious idea with a separate building on each corner, he suggested giving up the intersection and creating a neighborhood around a vertical park. In doing so, he aroused the interest of the URA, who soon invited him to further develop his green concept in the context of a small-scale architectural competition.

The plot is located northwest of the famous 'Gardens by the Bay' by architects WilkinsonEyre and directly between two small city parks. For this, the architects came up with a complex with space for offices (half) and houses (a third), which would go down in height from two hundred to 139 meters in the direction of one of the two parks. For their project, Christoph Ingenhoven and Michael Ngu took the idea of ​​park C in the middle of park A and B in 2010.
Looking from aside to large highrise buidings from Marine One
Large frames in the façade provide shade effects in the residential towers

Green Heart

In order to create the large 'Green Heart' park in the middle of the complex, all buildings have been shifted cartesian and strictly orthogonal to the outer boundaries of the plot, following the example of the New York city map. Around the green heart, for example, two blocks of two buildings were realized, with sloping galleries and vertical, step-by-step lamella constructions that do not entirely reminiscent of the well-known Southeast Asian rice terraces. Thanks to the cascading, undulating floors that come closer and closer together, natural air flows are created which ensure that even in the outdoor areas, despite the subtropical climate, it is pleasant to stay here.

On the outside, highly efficient, perforated sun protection elements adorn the sleek façade. For the inside, the architects and engineers developed extensive slats with a depth of 1.2 to 2 meters, based on extensive climate and design studies. This created a unique dynamic space in the heart of the complex, which, consciously not as a European city square but as a 'city room', a Singaporean version of a city garden, should be seen as a relaxing place to relax, move and to meet each other. The British landscape architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman created here a green oasis with great biodiversity that invites haptic (soil material) as well as acoustic (birds and insects) to explore.

Earth tones

However, it did not stay with the creation of this green heart. This only covers part of the very complex building concept with a total of 175,000 square meters of gross floor area for offices, 115,000 square meters for living, 18,000 square meters for trade / gastronomy and 37,000 square meters of green space. In addition to the green heart on the first four floors, in the office buildings on floor 28 and 29 'sky gardens' are integrated, which are publicly accessible and where restaurants are located just below. The green spaces now cover up to 125 percent of the plot surface.

Most are accessible to the general public - apart from the roof gardens, which serve as exclusive outdoor spaces for businesses and penthouses. The vegetation of the 'strata terraces', 'cloud garden', 'green screens' and 'rooftop gardens' varies greatly from floor to floor and with the different shades of color and plant structures it is a real enrichment of the otherwise rather strict high-tech façade. Incidentally, for the façade, Ingenhoven consciously took dark earth tones in order to contrast them nicely with the white of the former colonial buildings.

Hybrid construction

For Marina One, first a reinforced concrete skeleton was planned, but in the end the choice fell on a more advantageous option. In order to place the alternative hybrid construction from reinforced concrete and steel firmly on the soft surface of the newly reclaimed land, a very complex pile foundation was required. Another impressive element, both spatially and constructively, are the three 'suspended' floors of 10,000 square meters each connecting the two office buildings.

And do not underestimate the great functionality of Marina One. For the mediated clientele, consisting mainly of financial companies and professionals who can pay an average of 14,762 euros per square meter, there is virtually nothing to be desired: three underground shop floors and direct access to two metro stations, a 2,400-square-meter gym with a ten-meter high climbing wall and a fifty meter long outdoor swimming pool, several 'signature' restaurants, a party zone, lounges, a 'resident clubhouse' and special teppanyaki and BBQ terraces.

New urban exploration

The smart spatial and sustainable architectural solutions of Marina One can serve as a model for urban compaction projects at other locations. But the significance of this special project goes further. In Singapore, Marina One is part of a complete generation of new, green high-rise projects for an urban transformation and a change in the use wishes that they had not previously thought possible. It represents the desire for more and qualitative green spaces and outdoor spaces, the use of which actually increases despite the sometimes murderous subtropical climate.

Although Ingenhoven Architects and the supporting engineering firms Werner Sobek, DS-Plan and Arup Singapore with their complex design solutions managed to lower the temperature in the microclimate of Marina One compared to 'normal' with only a few degrees, the architecture entices many people to trust their familiar to leave the inner world more often. This new urban exploration is, in addition to the great energy values, the most impressive one at Marina One.
Sketch Marine One with white and green shades
Ground floor with park, public functions and entrances to homes, offices and parking


In addition to the large green spaces, more surprising openings have been created, some of which are only visible from close by or even only on the floors in question. For example, vertical slits in which two air shafts are housed in different places run through different residential buildings in order to achieve a completely natural ventilation and thus a more pleasant outdoor climate. This effect is further enhanced by the smartly chosen dimensions and positioning of the slats on the park side.

For the architects it still took a lot of steps to convince their client M + S, owned by the Singaporean investment company Temasek and the Malaysian state fund Khazanah, of these slots and slats. Both meant a significant investment and loss of useful floor space. Sustainability played a crucial role not only in the design of the inside, but also in the exterior of both buildings. For example, the different blocks with staggered frames and deeper loggias act as a kind of natural sunblind that helps to reduce the subtropical heat load on the 1,042 dwellings.

The fact that the plot is positioned slightly tilted in relation to the wind points was certainly also useful here. None of the facades is in fact oriented towards the very warm west. Thanks to a system for heat recovery, a rainwater collection system (for greywater and irrigation of the gardens), the greater heat tolerance to office temperatures of 24-26 degrees and the use of state-of-the-art glazing that prevents heat, the energy consumption is up to 35 percent lower than for this kind of complexes is common. This gave the project the Pre-Certification LEED Platinum and the Green Mark Platinum.

By: Claus Käpplinger, Photography HG Esch

Share this post
Hans van der Broek , founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
Hans van der Broek , founder Founder and CEO of WhatsOrb, world traveller, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Hans has countless ideas and has set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. He also has an opinion on everything and unlimited thoughts about how to create a better world. He likes hiking and has climbed numerous five-thousanders (mountain summits of at least 5000m or 16,404 feet in elevation)  
Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.


Whatsorb info

whatsorb whatsorb whatsorb