The power of one
Megaprojects reflect the transforming urban environment in Southeast Asia's biggest cities
The urban environment is being transformed to cater to the changing needs of Southeast Asia's younger generations. This trend is evident with a growing number of huge property development projects in that integrate elements of living, working, playing and learning in a city within a city.
Coincidentally, three leading megaprojects in Southeast Asian cities -- Bangkok, Singapore and Metro Manila -- have "One" as a part of their name: One Bangkok, Marina One in Singapore and One Bonifacio in Metro Manila.
One Bangkok will be Thailand's first truly integrated district to provide a people-centred, inclusive community that emphasises environmental sustainability and smart-city living innovations and principles. The district spans more than 100 rai and, when completed, it will host a range of retail, office, residential, hospitality and cultural elements across 1.8 million square metres of space.
The $3.5-billion project is being developed by TCC Assets (Thailand) and Frasers Property (the international property brand of Frasers Centrepoint Ltd of Singapore), both parts of the larger TCC Group led by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi.
The project includes more than 50 rai of greenery and open space, including a landscaped green promenade that is more than 40 metres wide, on both Wireless and Rama IV roads, which can be enjoyed as an extension of the city's much-loved Lumpini Park.
There is also a landscaped civic plaza of 10,000 sq m at the heart of the district, forming the core of an art and culture loop and a natural venue for international events and Thai festivals. Smart common infrastructure is being planned, including district cooling, fully centralised security and energy management systems.
As a fully integrated city within a city that will include civic areas, the cultural and art spaces and each building will have a distinct identity and positioning. This gives the district a natural diversity in architecture, while retaining a common sense of community and seamless connectivity.
More than 60,000 people are expected to work and live in the district once it is completed.
One Bangkok is expected to be Thailand's first district built to LEED ND Platinum standards.
With more than 500,000 sq m of premium Grade A office space built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and WELL standards to be delivered through 2025, nearly 200,000 sq m of distinctive retail destinations and ample hospitality products, One Bangkok is positioned to become Thailand's gateway to Asean.
The project is expected to quickly set new benchmarks and standards in the industry and has the potential to become Bangkok's most sought-after corporate address, attracting a multitude of domestic and multinational firms seeking to support their domestic and regional business operations.
MARINA ONE, SINGAPORE
Developed by M+S Pte Ltd, a joint venture between the Malaysian investment fund, Khazanah Nasional and the Singaporean state investor Temasek Holdings, Marina One will be the latest urban model to be added to the city-state's new downtown in 2017. Comprising a mix of offices and residential apartments, Marina One will be Singapore's only integrated development in the central business district (CBD) with a biodiversity garden at its core.
Aptly named the "Green Heart", the 6,500 sq m biodiversity garden will stretch from levels 1 to 4 of Marina One, in the common areas, and level 15 and the rooftop of the commercial towers.
The Green Heart is conceived by Ingenhoven Architects, and its verdant landscape brought to life by Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Porter and Henry Steed of ICN Design International.
The Green Heart seeks to infuse the elements of rice terraces carved into hillsides, a "cloud garden" and a waterfall feature. These thematic areas serve to form an imagery of changing environments and habitats that is akin to one's experience when ascending a mountain.
Currently undergoing final touches and is expected to open to the public in the second half of 2017, the Green Heart demonstrates the smooth integration of greenery in a prime commercial area. As the largest urban green sanctuary within the CBD, it infuses leisure into a work environment for office tenants, residents and visitors.
ONE BONIFACIO, METRO MANILA
One Bonifacio is the latest high-end mixed-use development located in Bonifacio High Street. The kilometre-long street is the longest pedestrian mall in the Philippines, at the heart of Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
Developed by Fort Bonifacio Development Corp and Ayala Land Inc in partnership with the Shangri-La Group, One Bonifacio has an office building with 35,000 sq m of gross floor area. Enveloped in a 100% glass facade, the building will house the new headquarters of the Philippine Stock Exchange, along with other top local companies and multinationals. This will establish BGC as the next premier CBD, second to Makati in Metro Manila.
The project also includes the Ayala Land Premier luxury condominium development, The Suites. There are 298 residential suites ranging from two- to four-bedroom unit types coupled with luxurious amenities.
The office and residential developments of Ayala Land will be complemented by One Bonifacio High Street, a lifestyle mall that will house global fashion brands and an array of new and exciting dining destinations.
The hotel development, Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila, is developed by the Shangri-La Group. It comprises 576 guestrooms and suites and extensive dining and banqueting facilities; hotel residences ideal for long-staying guests; 98 spacious and exclusive Horizon Homes residential units that are available for private ownership; Kerry Sports, at 10,000 sq m the largest indoor lifestyle and leisure club within the city; and a specially curated retail podium.
An 800m long and 40m wide landscaped central spine interconnects the mixed-use development to the other blocks, creating a pedestrian-friendly environment within the BCG City Center.
As place-making competition intensifies across the region, investors are clearly adopting one-of-a-kind concepts to set themselves apart from the competition.
While certain elements such as luxury condominiums are somewhat exclusive in nature, the broader integrated, green, healthy and inclusive environments these projects will create are certain to elevate quality standards across each market, a win-win outcome for all.
city within a city: An artist's impressions of One Bangkok, a mixed-use development project on Rama IV Road owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. Photos: Supplied