TripleOne Somerset additions and alterations have re-programmed the lower-floors of a 1977 Brutalist building to accommodate public retail spaces and strengthen connectivity to the surrounding urban fabric. Working within the framework of the building’s strong architectural language, the alterations maintain material and geometric simplicity, complementing the existing structure while reinventing its use as an effective retail component of the Orchard Road shopping corridor.
Construction of the original office building preceded the adjacent Mass Rapid Transit station by a decade, and so its additions and alterations in many ways reformulate functional and visual connectivity to this and other subsequently established elements: an interruptive void exposing a basement-level car park was filled to establish continuity between the sidewalk and interior spaces; ground-level additions nearest the MRT entrance situate new shops closer to the station’s pedestrian traffic; and a plaza at the corner of Somerset and Grange roads was arranged with reference to a popular food court across the street.
Internal rearrangements have also facilitated new relationships between TripleOne Somerset and the surrounding territory. The building’s ground floors were initially dedicated to public programming and included a lobby, offices, a cafeteria, and auditorium. New partitions have replaced these spaces with 5,600sqm of retail space and 460sqm of outdoor eateries. While renovations were respectful of existing structure, strategic alterations were made to augment some of the spatial qualities inherent to the original plan and section. For instance, a series of slabs were removed and columns reinforced with wrapped fiberglass to transform the double-height, 24m wide auditorium into a ground-level atrium.
The retail façade is composed of a simple glass and steel framing system — large panels of glass achieve lightness and transparency, and shop signage is set interior to the glazing as not to interrupt the quality of the frontage’s sheen surface. A collection of natural materials complement the raw finishes of the exposed reinforced concrete beams and slabs, including timber and glass details, and flooring of composite Chinese bamboo. A metallic fluorocarbon finish retains the tiled patterning of the original exterior ceramic cladding.