Rising 40 storeys above the buzz of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) is a Grade A office tower that is a stunning symbol of sustainable buildings. CapitaGreen, with living plants enveloping more than half its perimeter façade, is the work of Pritzker Laureate, Toyo Ito, who designed the structure to resemble a plant growing towards the sky. On 9 September 2015, the landmark premium office was officially opened after just 36 months of construction, well ahead of the industry average of 40 to 42 months needed to complete a building of this scale.
Said Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Minister for National Development, in his congratulatory letter on CapitaGreen’s opening: “The transformation of this piece of real estate is remarkable. The former Market Street Car Park is now an exemplary green office building, right within our CBD, with a beautiful green façade and lush green terraces. This is made possible by the smart and creative adoption of innovative building technologies. This has made waves in the industry and the profession. CapitaGreen shows that our built environment can be both greener and better – for both work and play. As we strive to intensify land use in the city, we should seriously consider and adopt sustainable and inclusive designs."
Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, said at the opening ceremony: “CapitaLand strongly believes that our buildings must have lasting impact. CapitaGreen is a stellar example of how CapitaLand has always placed strong emphasis on incorporating accessibility, connectivity, safety, lush greenery, healthy indoor air quality, operational efficiency, and community bonding into our buildings.”
In fact, the 242-metre development was named 2015 Best Tall Building Award for Asia & Australasia Region by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). CTBUH recognises projects that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, and achieved sustainability at the highest and broadest level.
Apart from its green façade, sky terraces and the rooftop sky forest that provide green respite, CapitaGreen incorporates sustainable design features. It boasts an innovative double-skin façade comprising an outer layer of frameless glass and an inner layer of double-glazed full-height glass, which reduces solar heat gain by up to 26% and serves as a greenhouse for the plants that form its green façade. A striking red and white petalled wind scoop at the rooftop draws cool, clean air through the air-conditioning system, cooling the building naturally. For irrigating the plants, CapitaGreen relies on harvested rain water.
For its environmentally sustainable and inclusive design, CapitaGreen clinched the Green Mark Platinum Award in 2012 and the Universal Design Gold PLUS in 2013 by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority.
CapitaGreen’s prime location and sustainable design have attracted about 30 multinational companies from varied industries - insurance, energy and commodities, technology and e-commerce, and financial services – to take up office space within the building. These include Bordier & Cie, Cargill, Catlin Asia Pacific, China Life Insurance, Fitness First, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, Jones Day, Lloyds Banking Group, Rakuten, Schroders Investment Management, and South32.
Commenting on CapitaGreen’s appeal, Mr Lim said: “We want to celebrate the people and communities that we serve because we know that every one of our properties, including CapitaGreen, is a stage for lives to thrive, flourish, and connect. It is thus heartening to know that CapitaLand’s efforts in promoting and developing environmentally sustainable, quality and beautiful buildings are not only recognised by the numerous prestigious awards we have received but are also affirmed by our tenants and the community.”
As at 9 September, CapitaGreen enjoys committed occupancy of 83% or 583,200 square feet of its total net lettable area. Many tenants are drawn to its sustainable design principles which are in tandem with their own corporate values. Tenants like Lloyds Banking Group, Schroders Investment Management and South32, for example, are on their way to being certified under the BCA Green Mark Office Interior scheme.
“The building’s environmentally-sustainable features appeal to our values as a responsible corporate citizen. We have installed an automatic lighting system which adjusts the level of lighting required based on the natural daylight intensity streaming into the office. An occupancy sensor ensures lighting is only activated in areas of the office where people are detected.To complement CapitaGreen’s unique green façade, we incorporated greenery in our office premises, including two large green walls in our cafes to make the work environment even more pleasant for our staff,” said Lilian Tham, Chief Operating Officer, Schroders Investment Management.
Lloyds Banking Group use energy-efficient electrical appliances and a recycling programme in its office.
“The exterior façade of the building, with its coverage of plants and shrubs, makes it a very pleasant building in which to work. The efforts by CapitaGreen management to make the building amenities as green as possible mirror our own efforts to be responsible in our energy consumption,” said Stephen Skulley, Country Manager of Lloyds Banking Group in Singapore.
More than just office space, CapitaGreen also prides itself on being a community space. On its rooftop is a Mediterranean restaurant with alfresco seating commanding gorgeous views of Marina Bay. The two levels below are occupied by Gravity, a members-only lifestyle concept gym. Strategically placed throughout the development are artworks by renowned artists that add to CapitaGreen’s spatial aesthetics, and serve as way-finders.
As part of the official opening of CapitaGreen and to commemorate SG50, CapitaLand also launched a book, CapitaLand: The Art of Building Communities , with articles about the artworks displayed throughout its properties in Singapore.
“From the book, you will read about how art pieces and installations are focal points of spaces at CapitaLand developments. They do not only play the role of distinctive place markers for way-finding, they also resonate with the public as landmarks where people congregate and connect; while bringing joy to the communities,” explained Mr Lim.
In keeping with CapitaLand’s aim to engage the community through its properties, it invited a group of Instagrammers to CapitaGreen just prior to its opening. The ‘Instameet’ gave an opportunity to the Instagrammers (as well as their over half a million followers) to appreciate CapitaGreen’s design up close. Check out their unique take on the iconic development using the hashtag ‘#CapitaGreen’.
Since the seed of the idea for a revolutionary green office building was first planted four years ago, this journey to fruition has been an exciting one; and its harvest will be enjoyed by the office tenants and public communities for a long time to come.