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DUO is an integrated mixed-use development located in the Ophir-Rochor district of Singapore. It is the centrepiece of the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s master plan to revitalise the Ophir-Rochor district, which connects the historic Kampong Glam district with the city’s commercial corridor.

The complex was developed by M+S, a 60:40 joint venture (JV) formed by Malaysia’s strategic investment fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Singapore’s investment company Temasek.

The DUO was designed by renowned German architect Ole Scheeren of Buro Ole Scheeren. It was named after the twin towers situated at the heart of the development and comprises 1.73 million square feet of office, hotel, retail and residential spaces.

Construction on the project began in 2013 and was completed in 2017.

Design of the DUO mixed-use development

The twin towers of DUO are curved and envelope an outdoor public plaza within the 2.7ha site. The 49-storey DUO Residences consists of residential units while the 39-storey DUO Tower is a commercial and hotel complex that sits on a retail podium known as the DUO Galleria.

A series of cantilevers and setbacks on the rectangular towers evoke the impression of a dancing couple. The concave façades of the buildings feature a net-like hexagonal pattern of sunshades, whereas the flat faces are characterised by vertical fins. The sunshades will prevent the building interiors from overheating.

The roofs of the towers are topped with green terraces, while natural landscaping is done on multiple levels. The street-level public plaza, which is also extensively landscaped with gardens and leisure zones, acts as a connector between multiple transport hubs and integrate the neighbouring buildings in its perimeter. The retail gallery is set within a park-like environment.

The total area of green space on the ground level, elevated terraces and rooftops is equivalent to that of the total site area.

Facilities at the mixed-use development

The residential tower houses 660 residential units, including studio, one to four-bedroom residences, and penthouse units. It features themed gardens, a 50m lap pool, wellness facilities and recreational lounges.

The commercial tower consists of approximately 568,000ft² of Grade A office space across 21 levels. The office floors feature raised flooring and 3m of floor-to-ceiling height. The remaining floors are occupied by a five-star hotel with 352 rooms, a ballroom, a spa and a fitness centre.

The rooftop and elevated terraces of the commercial tower include an observation deck, a sky restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool.

The 80,000ft² retail gallery is integrated with a direct underground connection to the Bugis MRT Station. Bicycle parking lots, retail offerings and showers are also available in the DUO complex.

Sustainable features of the twin towers

Singapore’s Building & Construction Authority (BCA) granted the mixed-use development GreenMark Platinum rating for the DUO Tower and DUO Galleria, and GreenMark Gold Plus rating for the DUO Residences and the five-star hotel in 2013.

The buildings employ a passive and active energy-efficient design to minimise energy usage. They are naturally ventilated and oriented in a direction that will optimise the sun and wind angles. The curved buildings capture and channel the wind flows throughout the site, creating cool microclimates within the shaded outdoor spaces.

Water is conserved through rainwater harvesting and water-efficient fittings. Energy-efficient LED lights are used in the car park.

Other energy conservation steps used at the twin towers include central chilled water plants for the commercial tower, use of heat pipes technology to recover heat from the toilet exhaust, and heat pumps for generating hot water for the hotel rooms.

Key players involved with the project

DP Architects assisted the lead architect Buro Ole Scheeren with the design of the complex. Hyatt Hotels Corporation signed a management agreement with M+S in January 2015 to launch and operate its Andaz brand hotel in the DUO Tower.

CapitaLand and UEM Land Holdings were appointed as the project managers, while Japanese firm Obayashi Corporation undertook the construction of the buildings.

BECA Carter Hollings & Ferner provided all the building services, civil, structural engineering and environmentally sustainable design (ESD) consultancy services for the project.

Manila-based company ALT was the facade consultant while Ontario-based RWDI Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin was chosen as the microclimate consultant for the project.

Coen Design International was responsible for landscape designing. International Lighting Architecture Bureau served as the lighting consultant. AECOM provided budget estimates, cost planning and procurement management services.