Solaris is an office building located in the Fusionopolis hub of central Singapore’s one-north business park. Fusionopolis operates as a research and development hub for the info-comm technology, media, physical sciences and engineering industries. The prime objective of building Solaris is to foster entrepreneurship, research and new discoveries in these fields.
Solaris is the first office building that was completed in phase 2B of Fusionopolis in 2011, built at an estimated cost of £55m. It was shortlisted for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Lubetkin prize 2012, as well as receiving the BCA green mark platinum rating, the highest certification in green and sustainable building.
The main attraction of Solaris is the 1.5km-long spiral ramp that connects the ground floor of one-north park and the basement eco-cell with the tallest tip of the building. Other unique features of the building are two tower blocks with roof gardens, corner sky terraces, a solar shaft, naturally ventilated atrium, ground level public plaza and wide horizontal sun-shading.
Architects T.R. Hamzah and Yeang won the Solaris design competition held by the owner of the site, JTC. The design was prepared in collaboration with CPG Consultants, a subsidiary of CPG Corporation. The project contract under concept and fixed-price tender was awarded by JTC to SB (Solaris) Investment P/L, a subsidiary of SoilBuild Group Holdings.
The building sits on a 7,734m² (1.9 acre) site and comprises two tower blocks separated by a glass-roofed public plaza. The first tower block has 15 levels and the second tower nine, while both have landscaped rooftop gardens. The total floor area is 51,282m² (551,995ft²), the landscaped area is 8,363m² (90,018ft²) and the building is 80m high.
The public plaza has a slanted glass operable roof that allows natural ventilation and sunlight to percolate into the interiors. The open space of the plaza provides a good place for gatherings and hosting events, while the two towers are linked by sky bridges over the public plaza on the top floors.
The rooftop garden and the corner sky terraces also provide open space to allow constant interaction with nature and a clear view of the surroundings. The spiral ramp expands into double-volume sky terraces at the building’s corners, with the landscaped area increasing the green footprint and controlling temperature.
Tianjin Eco-City in China is a 30 square kilometre modern township project being jointly developed by the governments of Singapore and China. Located 45km east of Tianjin, the project will build 100,000 sustainable homes for 350,000 people. The entire project is set for completion in 2020.
The solar shaft arranged diagonally juts out of the first tower block and allows sunlight to percolate into the interiors, reducing the need for artificial lights.
The eco-cell is located at the north-east side of the building just where the spiral ramp meets the ground. This sheltered area supports plants and allows cross ventilation to the basement car parking zones. Situated at the lowest floor of the eco-cell are storage tanks and pumps for rain water harvesting.
The pocket park, which functions like an open plaza, is connected to the open-north park next to the building and allows cross-ventilation to the open ground floor plaza.
The façade’s design is influenced by the tropical climate of Singapore and the sun’s movement from east to west, which is reflected in its depth and shape.
The 1.5km-long landscaped ramp that wraps around the building’s face like a ribbon, gives Solaris its green title and unique look. This ramp starts at the ground level and ends in the rooftop gardens at the building’s topmost level.
A parallel pathway follows the 3m-wide planted ramp, which acts like a social forum for occupants. It allows the maintenance staff to access the planted ramp from outside, while the extensions and presence of plants helps in cooling the façade.
The building scores high on sustainability; it is equipped with rainwater harvesting, which is collected by the pipes running down the exterior landscaped ramps and roofs of the second tower by siphonic drainage. The water, stored in tanks situated on the roofs and below the eco-cell, is used to irrigate the planted areas, while the integrated fertigated system ensures the retention of organic nutrient levels.
The louvers have a total linear length of more than 10km and function as light shelves, reducing the heat transfer throughout the building’s double glazed façade. The glass operable roof works via sensors, protects the tenants from extreme climate and acts as a smoke vent in emergency situations.
The extensive spread of planted area allows rich biodiversity, with the building replacing the green footprint of the original site by 113% by including planted areas inside the building. The interior lighting system works on sensors and switches off automatically when there is adequate daylight, reducing energy consumption by 36%.
Arup Singapore supervised the civil and structural engineering aspects of the building, CPG Consultants provided the mechanical and electrical engineering services, while the façade and sustainability consultants are Aurecon, landscape consultant is Tropical Environment and quantity surveyor is PEB Consultants.
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