Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Sky Habitat, Singapore
Featured August 2017
Sky Habitat was recognized as a "Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia" and "Urban Habitat Award'" Finalist in the 2016 CTBUH Awards Program.
Other Featured Tall Buildings
“Continuing a now rich tradition in Singapore of creating quality, green, outdoor urban habitat at height, this project reminds us that most other cities have a lot of catching up to do.”
Antony Wood, Juror, CTBUH

Completion Date:

131 m (429 ft)

65,000 sq m (699,654 sq ft)
Primary Function:
CapitalLand Singapore Limited
Mitsubishi  Estate Asia; CapitalLand Singapore Limited
Safdie Architects (design); DCA Architects Pte Ltd (architect of record)
Structural Engineers:
RSP Architects, Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd.
MEP Engineers:
Alpha Consulting Engineers Pte Ltd; Squire Mech Pte Ltd
Main Contractor:
Shimizu Corporation
Other Consultant:
Coen Design International (Landscape)

Sky Habitat successfully builds upon the familiar elements of a traditional Singaporean housing block to provide an effective urban habitat within a visually striking and architecturally stunning structure. Skybridges, verdant landscaping, and a complex geometry that recalls hillside developments combine to suggest a village in the sky, complete with streets and public gathering spaces. While responsive to local needs and constraints, the tower reflects universal principles of habitat certain to fundamentally improve the lives of inhabitants.

Located in the neighborhood of Bishan, a significant residential area in the suburban heartland of Singapore, Sky Habitat explores the balance of high-density living with humanistic concepts of community, landscape, gardens, and daylight. Breaking down the scale of typical single-tower residential developments, the community-based solution utilized here is a three-dimensional matrix of homes with private terraces, balconies, and common gardens, bringing a verdant landscape into the air and maintaining porosity on the skyline.

The strong stepping form of the complex recalls the community texture of ancient hillside developments and provides for lush vertical greenery, multiple orientations relative to the sun, naturally ventilated units, and generous views, all without compromising planning or structural efficiency. Two stepping towers are linked by three bridging sky gardens, creating a series of interconnected streets, gardens, and terraces in the air, with a variety of areas for common recreation and congregation.

View of landscaped skybridge at level 26 looking to the ground-level amenities
As the building structure rises, apartments are designed in “pairs” so that a three-bedroom unit stacks atop another three-bedroom arrangement, aligning structure and plumbing. Each pair offers slight variation in scale as one steps back upon the next, creating views and privacy. The open-to-above terraces cantilever 2 meters (6.6 feet) in all directions, providing shade to the windows of the unit below while increasing usable outdoor area. A bottom paired unit has a terrace projecting to the north or south, while a top unit features a terrace projecting to the east or west.

Singapore’s tropical climate fosters a culture where families spend significant time together outside; Sky Habitat’s many amenities address this specific need. The buildings’ landscape design features a variety of tropical planting, organized into both shaded garden and water-garden spaces. At grade, the gardens fit between, under, and around the staggered building footprint to maximize the available area of the small site. A series of reflecting pools extend below the towers, interweaving interior and exterior spaces. Aside from the shade provided by the building and the tree planting, the gardens feature several spaces with outdoor kitchens and barbecues for communal gatherings.

One critical objective for the tower was to avoid the raised carpark podium that typically separates a building’s recreational spaces from its surroundings. At Sky Habitat, all 600 available parking spaces are pushed a half-level below grade and spread across the site, resulting in better relationships to the surrounding streets. The roof of this partially submerged structure is topped by a 1.5-meter (4.9-foot) soil layer supporting mature trees and planting across the site. This same zone is also utilized to integrate water features and swimming pools. As a result, over 70 percent of the ground plane is recovered as garden amenities. 

Axonometric drawings of the skybridge at levels 38 (top), 26 (middle) and 14 (bottom)
The design of Sky Habitat responds to the particular culture and context of Singapore, the specificity of site, and the local regulatory systems of the region. However, the core principles of the project are universal: to provide air and light, windows that do not overlook neighbors, and spaces for both indoor and outdoor living. Beyond a basic sustainable building, the notable inclusions of sky gardens and ample communal amenities have humanized the scale of the structure and elevated its status as a successful urban habitat.
Landscaped skybridge at level 26
View from the 38th-level skybridge pool

Related Links
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Sky Habitat

Sky Habitat was recognized as a "Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia" and "Urban Habitat Award'" Finalist in the 2016 CTBUH Awards Program.

2016 CTBUH Awards Book