People seek the city in pursuit of individual business ventures made possible by connectivity and human density. With the advent of new technologies, establishing small businesses is made ever simpler. Correspondingly, the appeal for decentralised offices has increased in recent years as start-up companies require personal work spaces within the network of the urban core. This movement has proved especially strong in Singapore, where government programmes help to fund the initiation of small companies.
Situated directly above a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station and vehicular hub in Singapore’s downtown, Central has been designed for such individualised work spaces. Two of the project’s blocks are programmed with Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) units varying in size from 50sqm to 85sqm and purpose-designed for the flexibility and mobility required by start-ups or home office operations. These eight and twelve-storey blocks supplement a 25-storey tower that accommodates larger offices at or above 150sqm. By pairing SOHO and larger office spaces, Central presents the opportunity for business collaboration with facilities for companies of all sizes. Workspaces are programmed atop a retail podium, with access to restaurants and shops. The blocks are oriented to take advantage of water and city views.
As a business centre and retail centre integrated with a transportation hub, the complex is a focal point of activity. Aspects of dynamism are built into the project programmatically and materially to reflect the project’s position. At ground level, the site conditions are highly permeable, with retail-lined corridors connecting the street, river, and MRT station; frontages along the river and the street respond to the site and channel visitors inward to the heart of the programme by means of entrances at strategic pedestrian nodes. Patterned façade elements on the tower and inset coloured panels lining the retail podium complement interior finishes that range from floor tile patterns to ceiling articulations as expressions of vibrancy.