As a commodity goods centre, it is perhaps axiomatic that the malls of Orchard Road have been subject to a host of design overhauls. Located at the geographical midpoint of Orchard Road, Paragon Shopping Centre has had a particularly active history of reconfiguration. Since the late 1990s alone, DP Architects has designed three phases of additions and alterations – in 1999, 2003, and 2009 – each re-establishing the mall’s relationship with Orchard Road by means of increasing levels of transparency, facade articulation, and circulatory connectivity.
With this series of developments, two adjacent existing structures have been joined and extensively refurbished to house a new concentration of premier fashion outlets along 115m of frontage, while a 14-storey tower has been added atop this podium to house medical offices supplementing the site’s adjacent hospital. The insertion of two atria – one within each existing structure – has established major activity spaces flanking the street. These dual spaces are connected by a wide corridor on every level; each extends vertically through the podium to connect all shopping levels visually and functionally, while spans of clerestory windows above flood the mall with natural daylight. All these factors strengthen the shopping centre’s openness and internal visibility.
The building’s frontage has been transformed with full glazing up to the fifth level, articulated by three glazed blocks projecting four metres beyond the original elevation line to augment transparency and internal exposure, showcasing the upmarket tenants – Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Prada, Tod’s, Miu Miu. An additional curved glazed entrance supported by a structural steel frame establishes a clear focal point for access. Articulated elements are projected from a unifying base façade of aluminum panels and fritted glass – drawing from the ‘Paragon’ namesake, these elements are patterned to reflect a multi-faceted diamond. With this formal and material composition, a clear architectural harmony is developed.