Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Camden Medical Centre


1990 - 1999

The Camden Medical Centre is located at an interface between commercial and residential areas of Singapore. The 18-story building was designed to house medical suites and offices with retail space on the ground floor. Its cylindrical profile celebrates the culmination of Orchard Street, which links the commercial center at the harbor to the residential district above.

The cylindrical, multilayered metal shell wrapped around the building is also a consequence of equatorial conditions, where all exposures require solar protection. A combination of structural brise-soleil and horizontal fretted sun screens integrated into the fa├žade provides protection from the sun and adds a human scale that relates to the rhythm of the residential towers to the east and southeast of the site. The circular plan is subdivided orthagonally, and the cylinder is serviced by a rectangular core. The cut-away portion of the cylindrical mass is occupied by an opaque, freestanding cylindrical escape stair pierced at intervals by slot windows.

Natural stone covers the ground-level retaining walls and elevator cores. This finish creates a strong contrast to the lightweight metallic walls of the tower. The building footprint was reduced to the minimum to allow for landscaped open space at grade.

The vehicle drop-off and turnaround is slightly depressed from the street and takes advantage of the slope to provide privacy for the main entrance. Pedestrian access is along a covered walkway that weaves through the ground floor of the building and permits the required covered connection to neighboring commercial buildings.

The Camden Medical Centre offers an alternative model for development within the overbuilt urban core, where more often than not structures rise to 60 stories.

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