Velocity@Novena Square already consisted of two office towers, one 18 and one 25-storeys tall, both clad in blue reflective glass. A glased rotunda marks the entrance of the original mall. The new commission was for an extension of the retail space with a three-storey mall, themed around the concept of an active lifestyle. This extends the retail floor area from just over 15,000m² to more than 21,000m², and also improves access to the towers. But perhaps most important of all, it gives the development a whole new presence on the street.

DP Architects’ solution moves right away from the restrained business-like language of glass framed in steel to a bright, sinuous entrance in curving metal, in an eyecatching shade of yellowy green. Both an exciting architectural concept and a technical feat, this approach ensures that, in a city full of modern developments, Velocity@Novena Square cannot be overlooked.

Raised above ground level as a podium, this facade is like an elegantly curved piece of paper, travelling around corners, with some curves tighter than others. In order to achieve this curvature, it was important that the metal used was as thin as possible so that it was sufficiently malleable. The lowest thickness available in Singapore was 1.2mm which would have been too stiff, so the architect ordered special sheets that were only 0.7mm thick from Germany. It used a total of 15,000 of these sheets, each of which had to be moulded manually on site, with a total of about 20 manipulations to achieve the exact curvature. The erection of the facade took about 15 months in total.

The architect chose the colour because it wanted a feeling of youthful vibrancy and of energy, and it felt that this shade of green represented that, as well as forming a bright focus for the new entrance. Having determined what kind of colour it wanted, it worked closely with Sheet Metal International Systems in Germany to develop the exact tone that was applied.

Glased areas are set into the podium, and the internal space is daylit as far as possible by rooflights. Corridors within the space provide access to the office buildings. There is direct access from the new development to a new gym at fourth and fifth-floor areas, emphasising the sporting nature of the space, and the food court from the existing retail space has been moved to the top floor of the “Velocity@Novena Square” development.

Retail spaces have, increasingly, to compete for custom. While it is the quality of their offering that will ensure repeat visits, getting customers there in the first place is dependent to a great degree on the image that is projected. By its use of bold geometric curves, set against the straight lines of the towers, and of bright colour and metal cladding, “Velocity@Novena Square” has ensured that not only can it not be overlooked but that it projects an image that is commensurate with its offering.

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