Bugis Junction is a commercial complex built among a network of reconstructed shophouses, a transformation of historical streetscapes into enclosed shopping corridors. The project can be read as a convergence of two architectural ideas: the establishment of a contemporary retail space within the framework of the existing city; and the creation of a retrospective urban development that looks to the future.
Bugis Junction is a rediscovery of the arcades typology, an urban intervention emergent in 1830s Paris that became a cornerstone to the practice of architecture. When wrought iron and glass canopies were constructed to enclose Paris’ medieval streets, previously autonomous shops were brought together to form shared spaces with access to several storefronts. Not only did it reinvent the street for new use, but it created a new public space laced deeply into the city fabric and transformed shopping into a pedestrian-only, all-weather activity. Bugis Junction is a similar transformation: glass roof canopies unify a block of narrow, shophouse-lined streets to integrate retail with food and beverage outlets in a single air-conditioned environment.
Situated directly above a Mass Rapid Transit station, Bugis Junction connects 63 reconstructed and preserved shophouses along Victoria Street, Middle Road and North Bridge Road. Reconstruction permitted the glass arcade to be structurally embedded within the shophouse forms, freeing space within the internal corridors and unifying the old and new. The two- and three-storey structures reinforce a local identity, though historic memory is juxtaposed with large-scale, modern structures which bookend the site — a 16-storey, 400 room InterContinental Hotel, and a 15-storey office block. The result is an urban intervention that implants a 21st century network of public spaces within the city’s rooted fabric.