By Jon Walton
Singapore is known for much more than gum-free sidewalks – the Southeast Asian city-state has exploded economically over the last few decades, emerging as the fourth-leading global financial center with one of the five busiest ports in the world, and more millionaires per capita than any other country.
All of this growth has culminated in a string of iconic construction projects throughout the region, especially in the bustling Marina Bay. One of Singapore’s up and coming financial and entertainment districts, Marina Bay is home to some of the area’s most unique and innovative building projects, and is shaping the reputation of one of the world’s wealthiest countries.
21st Century Infrastructure
For a nation of only five million inhabitants, Singapore is on the cutting edge of urban infrastructure development. The Common Services Tunnel system, only the second of its kind in Asia, supplies 1.4 km of telecom cables, power lines, water pipes and pneumatic refuse provisions. The CST provides improved reliability and easier access for maintenance and hardware upgrades, complete with backup capabilities in case of the need for emergency repairs. A connected District Cooling Plant provides chilled water for air conditioning of the Marina’s facilities.
Singapore has pumped nearly $2 billion into infrastructure for the Bay, used to fund projects like the Marina Barrage, rapid transit connections, the Marina Promenade and the Double Helix Bridge. When all is said and done, Marina Bay will have the most rail stations of any region in Singapore.
Developers hoping to transform Marina Bay into one of Singapore’s busiest financial districts have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a 3.5 hectare site named the Marina Bay Financial Center,consisting of three office towers, two residential complexes and retail space. The 33 and 55 story towers have attracted firms like Barclays, American Express and others to the area, while the connected Marina Bay Link Mall will provide nearly 180,000 square feet of retail space. The development is slated to be completed this year.
The Asia Square development at Marina View is a twin-tower, mixed-use office, retail, and hotel space that will house nearly two million square feet. The structure will boast the largest solar panel installation in Singapore, as well as the region’s first bio-diesel generation plant in a commercial development, helping it secure its LEED Gold precertification.
Marina Bay Sands, an $8 billion luxury hotel development along the Marina Bay waterline, is considered to be the world’s most expensive standalone casino property and features over 2,500 rooms, a 1.3 million square foot exhibition center, ice skating rinks, restaurants, and the world’s largest atrium casino. The structure’s easily recognizable shape was designed by Moshe Safdie and consists of three large towers connected by a one hectare sky terrace.
Walk along the waterfront, and you’ll soon run into one of three distinct gardens that comprise the Gardens by the Bay, a sprawling 101 hectare horticultural showcase and park system. The 1.2 hectare Flower Dome conservatory hosts plants acclimated to cooler, drier conditions while Supertrees – giant, tree-like structures offering shade and acting as vertical gardens – dominate the landscape.
Becoming a Smart City
Singapore as a whole is well on its way to becoming one of Asia’s leading smart cities, with intelligent infrastructure, well-designed transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly developments – and Marina Bay is a shining example of intentional and well-executed city planning. With more projects coming online in the next year or so, Marina Bay is set for unprecedented growth as both businesses and residents catch on to the area’s modern comforts, easy access and exciting venues, though tourists beware – gum chewing is still strictly off-limits.