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CDL chief won over by Norman Foster’s eco-friendly approach

IT ALL began with an inspiring speech by celebrated architect Norman Foster two years ago in Monaco.

City Developments (CDL) executive chairman Kwek Leng Beng was there to hear it and vowed that one day he would team up with the renowned Briton, who designed Singapore’s Supreme Court.

‘I was fascinated by his speech on creating eco-friendly buildings. I thought to myself that, someday, I would work with him as he has great in-depth knowledge and expertise, which complement CDL’s green philosophy,’ said Mr Kwek.

That dream was realised yesterday when CDL and two partners – Dubai World’s Istithmar and United Statesbased Elad Group – signed a contract to build the landmark South Beach project.

The 3.5ha site with a gross floor area of 146,827 sq m sits on an entire block bounded by Nicoll Highway and Beach, Bras Basah and Middle roads.

Designed by Lord Foster’s architectural firm, Foster & Partners, South Beach won over the authorities with a design that incorporated comprehensive, cutting-edge green features without compromising on aesthetics.

While CDL’s $1.69 billion bid was not the highest, the group clinched the deal based on ‘an impressive use of green technologies’ and striking designs, said Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu yesterday.

South Beach will be made up of two towers, 45 and 42 storeys high, with slanting facades that will allow them to maximise ventilation and to channel air flow to ground-level spaces. A huge, wave-shaped ‘environmental filter’ canopy will cover the open areas that integrate the towers with the low-rise conserved buildings.

CDL, which already has several Green Mark awards under its belt, will be gunning for the highest accolade – the platinum Green Mark – with this project, said Mr Kwek.

The Green Mark scheme, launched in 2005, rates buildings for their environmental impact and performance.

South Beach will cost more than $2.5 billion to build, including the land price, and will be completed in 2012.

Construction will begin next year.


Source: The Straits Times 5 Dec 07

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