Pearl Bank Apartments

Pearl Bank Apartments (Chinese: 珍珠苑; pinyin: Zhēnzhū yuàn) is a high-rise private residential building on Pearl's Hill in Outram, near the Chinatown of Singapore.

As the tallest and densest residential building in Singapore when completed in 1976, Pearl Bank Apartments was one of Singapore's pioneers of high-rise, high-density living, and influenced urban development in Singapore and other cities in southeast Asia.

History
Development

The Pearl Bank Apartments was the first all-housing project to be undertaken in the Urban Renewal Department of the Housing and Development Board's Sale of Sites programme. The residential project was the subject of the programme's third sale in 1969.

With a height of 113 metres (371 feet), the Pearl Bank Apartments was the tallest residential building in Singapore when it was completed in June 1976.

Planned redevelopment of site

On 4 August 2007, the Pearl Bank Apartments which is located on a 8,000-square metre, 99-year leasehold site was put up for an en bloc sale. The tender closed on 18 September 2007, but fetched no bids. Another tender closed on February 19, 2008, failing again, and the collective sale agreement lapsed on August 1, 2008.

Architecture

The Pearl Bank Apartments is a 38-storey hollow ¾ cylindrical tower, resembling a horseshoe, designed for a total occupancy of 1,500 persons. When completed in 1976, the building had the largest number of apartments contained in a single block, and had the highest density of any private modern residential building at 1,853 persons per hectare. It was designed by Singaporean architect Tan Cheng Siong of Archurban Architects Planners.

The 272-unit apartment block comprises three types of split-level units — 48 two-bedroom (130 sq. metres), 184 three-bedroom (176.5 sq. metres) and 40 four-bedroom (213.7 sq. metres) dwellings, with eight units to each floor — and an additional eight penthouses. There is a shopping area with seven units on the first storey, and the building has a four-storey carpark. The 28th storey is devoted for community use, known as the "Sky Park".

The effect of the split-level architectural approach in the spatial planning is expressed as an important facet of the building. Each apartment unit is further zoned into "public" and "private" areas to offer maximum exclusivity and views to the occupants. The utilities and service areas are located at the rear of the apartments, overlooking the building's central courtyard, to avoid any obstruction of the view. The opening in the circular structure faces west and minimises direct penetration of heat and light from the afternoon sun into the building. The slits in the circular slab also allow for effective ventilation into the internal courtyard.

The building's structure comprises ten radiating shear walls, which also serve as party walls between the units. These elements, along with the additional structural columns and lift cores, follow the radial form of the building and enhances the façade. Shanghai plaster is used on the outer rim of the building and painted plastered walls on the inner rim.

Originally unpainted, with the raw concrete visible, the building was painted cream with orange details in 2008.

Building Activity