Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
The Pinnacle @ Duxton, Singapore
Posted July 2011

The Pinnacle @ Duxton was recognized as the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia Winner in the 2010 CTBUH Awards Program.

Other Featured Tall Buildings

“A big step forward in rethinking residential design, this massive development manages to be light, highly efficient and well integrated with its surroundings.”
– Ahmad Abdelrazaq, CTBUH 2010 Awards Juror, Samsung Corporation

163m (536ft)
253,957 sq m (2,733,570 sq ft)
Primary Use

Housing & Development Board, Singapore
Design Architect
ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism

Associate Architect
RSP Architects Planners & Engineers
Structural Engineer
Surbana International Consultants
Surbana International Consultants

Chip Eng Seng Contractors
Other Consultants
Envirospace Consultants

T.Y. Lin International

Figure 1. Building exterior at night.

The Pinnacle @ Duxton is a large, dense development, but great effort was made towards the sustainable quality of life and sense of place on a project that otherwise may have become a relentless wall in the landscape. The project has enlivening spaces and creates a quality experience for the users. This building, as it curves across its site, takes the concept of “streets in the sky” to a new level, providing integrated public outdoor green spaces with its two linear sky parks. This provides a fascinating experiment in high density living and how we can make best use of that most precious of resources—land.

All the more impressive is that the project was able to accomplish such a high level of execution and the inclusion of so much public space within the constraints of a public housing project. Very rarely do you see such success in making a public housing project a clear architectural statement.


The Pinnacle @ Duxton defines super-density housing with 1,848 apartment units built on a plot of only 2.5 hectares (6 acres)—only slightly larger than two football fields. Public housing as an architectural typology is inherently complex. It marries housing—the most private of programs—with public space. The public housing project addresses pragmatic, financial, social and even political issues. Add to that an irregular west facing site in the heart of Singapore’s congested central business district, trees to be conserved and required connections to the neighboring park and community center, and the brief is incredibly complex.

Figure 2. Site plan showing connected tower blocks.

Within the development, residents enjoy the convenience of shops, a food court, an education center, a childcare center, and two community centers. Beyond the development, residents are served by two train stations which link them to the island-wide mass rapid transit system and bus stops at the development’s doorstep.  Exploiting the inherent sustainability of the high-density, high-rise housing model, The Pinnacle @ Duxton creates a walkable and diverse community, and provides a connected, convenient and compact model of sustainable urbanism.

Figure 3. Communal green space at ground level.

On the ground, a new architectural surface warps, peels and flows over the carpark and services, efficiently organizing vehicular and pedestrian circulation. The linear block layout allows for a direct services network in the car park; a double-volume carriageway running under the blocks accommodates the fire engines and waste disposal. The new architectural surface is a lush environmental deck that connects strategically with the existing urban network while forming a green lung for the city. Landscape elements comprising pavilion, benches, and exercise nodes are plug-ins to this extended park network and function as location markers as well as vibrant community nodes.

Layers of tree screens border the site and pathways to provide varying degrees of opacity and privacy, softening the massiveness of the towers to create a human scale. Integrated within this landscape is an outdoor gallery, “Traces,” which captures the historical significance of this site by tracing the outlines of the original two public housing blocks which were built in the 60s.

Figure 4. Residents' park at mid-height skybridges.                         Figure 5. Shared spaces at the connected roof level.

Continuous Sky Gardens on the 26th and 50th floors weave through the seven tower blocks, forming a simple yet powerful sculptural skyline that creates a strong identity for the project. Twelve Sky Gardens are conceptualized as displaced landscapes like a Sky Gym, Hillock, Crater, Meadows, Lounge, and Beach. They function as an extension of the living environment for residents, forming almost 1 hectare (2.5 acres) of new land. Designed with children playgrounds, an outdoor fitness gym for the elderly, landscape furniture resembling beach deck chairs and outdoor sofa sets; they provide diverse, creative and unusual spaces for community interaction. They also function as areas of refuge in case of emergencies and allow the sustainable sharing of mechanical services, reducing seven sets to just three. The seamless connection created by the linking sky bridges allow for the entire development to be serviced by a single Building Maintenance Unit.

Efficiently constructed off-site, the pre-fabricated concrete building components were delivered and put together on-site. Residents were given an unprecedented choice of exterior façade treatments—planter boxes, bays, bay windows, windows, and balconies. The façade is atomized into modular panels strung together to form seven sets. Composed by simple rules, the layered sets form a complex façade. The pre-fabricated panels incorporate both structure and services—including columns, beams and service ducts. With a simple and affordable application of paint finish, a highly differentiated façade is created from an undifferentiated fabrication process—creating visual interest and reducing the perceived building mass.

Figure 6. Building facade detail showing modular construction.

Related Links
CTBUH Skyscraper Center Profile:
Visit The Pinnacle @ Duxton profile

The Pinnacle @ Duxton was recognized as the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia Winner in the 2010 CTBUH Awards Program.
Watch The Pinnacle @ Duxton Awards presentation
Watch The Pinnacle @ Duxton project team interview

Download the Pinnacle @ Duxton 2010 CTBUH Awards Book section

2010 CTBUH Awards Book

The CTBUH would like to thank ARC Studio for their assistance with this article. Photos and Drawings © ARC Studio