Orchard Central

High-rise shopping

At 12 storeys, Orchard Central is Singapore’s first high-rise shopping centre. Communicating a new mode of connectivity with its urban site and environs, the design of Orchard Central wraps and injects private commercial space with the public space of Orchard Road, activating all 12 storeys of the mall with street linkages.

The façade hosts an exploratory circulation system that places the visitor in unique relationships with the surrounding city: a series of open-air escalators and landings extend the experience of the sidewalk at ground level onto landscaped roof decks at the 11th and 12th storeys. Numerous vantage points designed within the façade encourage a surgical exploration of the city, as one travels upward and through the building’s skin.

181 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238896
Category Retail
Year 2009
Size 36,000sqm
Orchard Central, the first vertical mall in Singapore, is a total turnaround of the typical shopping mall model. By capitalising on the spatial constraint due to site configuration and omitting a central atrium, the internal spaces allow consumers to wander, relax or linger.
Distinctive interior architecture with transparent elevators provides an internal hierarchy and activates interior spaces.
Massing concept sketch describing a variety of programmatic clusters.
The steel and aluminium framework that wraps the carpark at the upper levels is detailed to display a nightlong performance of light and colour.

The roof deck is a lushly landscaped outdoor setting that operates as a park – a new public space that offers views outward, conflating the mall with the space of the city. This enveloping circulatory system also extends inward, puncturing internal spaces of shops and restaurants.

The exploratory aspects of Orchard Central’s façade work to slow the process of shopping. Rather than moving through retail spaces as an act of efficiency, shoppers are persuaded to engage with the shopping experience.

Attributes of internal programming also serve this purpose: the structure is segmented into specialised clusters – youth shops, luxury goods stores, entertainment spaces – that are placed with visual links to core activated spaces – to form a clear internal hierarchy and fuel the building with life.

A variety of architectural elements differentiate the programmatic clusters. Externally, masses containing these zones protrude from the façade, and LED-embedded mullions are coupled with ceramic-fritted glazing units to articulate the forms at night. Internally, ceiling lighting and flooring systems are arranged in linear patterns that inform specialised axes of movement to further activate the internal spaces.

Specialist Services

Integrated services provided for this project.


2016 FIABCI Singapore Property Awards 2016
Orchard Central – L1 Discovery Walk
2015 Singapore Good Design Mark Awards
Orchard Central
2011 BCA Construction Excellence Awards (Winner)
Orchard Central

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