Suntec City



Suntec City, commissioned and built by a private consortium, began construction in 1989 and was completed in phases between 1995 and 1997 at a cost of US$2.3 billion.1 Built in the heart of Marina Centre near City Hall MRT station, it has been described as a “city within a city”.2 It comprises five office towers, a retail and entertainment complex, and a convention and exhibition centre.3

Background
The name Suntec is derived from the Chinese words xin and da, which mean “new achievement”.4 The building’s design was inspired by Asian elements such as the Hindu mandala (a Sanskrit word for circle), Chinese fengshui (geomancy) and the concept of yin and yang (the balance of opposites).5


Suntec City was designed by American architectural firm I. M. Pei and Partners, in collaboration with local firm DP Architects and New York-based Tsao and McKown. The structure of the building is supposed to resemble the human hand, with the 18-storey Suntec City Tower representing the thumb, the four 45-storey office towers the fingers, and the convention centre the wrist, while the Fountain of Wealth looks like a gold ring in the centre of the palm.6

Suntec City Mall
Suntec City Mall is one of Singapore’s largest shopping and entertainment centres with 888,000 sq ft (82,498 sq m) of retail space.7 When it first opened, the mall was divided into four thematic zones: Galleria, Tropics, Fountain Terrace and the Entertainment Centre.8


Galleria comprised upmarket boutiques offering international brand names and exclusive merchandise. Tropics catered to the interests of the young and old with its sports, home furnishing, recreation and fashion outlets. Fountain Terrace offered a wide variety of local and international cuisines, while the Entertainment Centre housed a hypermarket, a cinema and other entertainment-related products and services.9

Fountain of Wealth
The Fountain of Wealth is a prominent feature in Suntec City. Accorded the status of World’s Largest Fountain in the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records, it covers an area of 1,683 sq m and has four 13.8-metre-high bronze legs supporting an elevated bronze ring measuring 21 m in diameter. In December 1997, a computerised light-and-sound system was installed so that a laser show could be staged at the fountain every evening.10


The circular design of the fountain is based on the Hindu mandala, which is a symbolic representation of the universal spirit.11 The fountain is also designed to capture the auspicious values of fengshui.12 According to geomancers, the location of the fountain is the point of convergence of the “five dragon heads” of Singapore.13 Water jets from the fountain’s bronze ring flow inwards, instead of outwards, into the centre of the ring, symbolising the retention of wealth, bringing prosperity to both the building’s occupants and visitors.14

Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre
The Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre (SICEC) is the first purpose-built convention and exhibition facility in Singapore.15 Aimed at being the premier convention and exhibition centre in the Asia-Pacific region, the centre was designed to meet the varied space demands of any international convention or exhibition, and is fitted with state-of-the-art facilities. It is one of the largest such centres in the region and offers close to 100,000 sq m of convention and exhibition space, including a 12,000-square-metre,column-free Convention Hall capable of seating up to 12,000 delegates.16


SICEC was opened in August 1995 by then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, and hosted the inaugural World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in December 1996.17

From 2012 to 2014, Suntec City underwent a S$410-million facelift. One of its key changes was the conversion of the first two levels of the convention centre for retail use, which helped increase Suntec City’s total retail space by 14 percent, to 980,000 sq ft.18



Author

Daniel Goh Toh Hooi



References
1.
Suntec City will help Singapore stay ahead. (1989, December 22). The Straits Times, p. 48; Chew, F. C. (1995, March 18). Suntec awards $346m final phase contract. The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Koh, J. (1998). Regarding Suntec: A behind-the-scene look at what makes the city tick. I-S Magazine, 3(14), 10. (Call no.: RSING 052 ISM)
2.
Siow, D. (1990, October 27). $1.5b Suntec City to be marketed early next year. The Straits Times, p. 44; Suntec City a city within a city. (1995, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG. 
3.
Suntec City’s topping out a month ahead of schedule. (1994, June 23). The Straits Times, p. 39; Suntec City a city within a city. (1995, March 31). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Koh, J. (1998). Regarding Suntec: A behind-the-scene look at what makes the city tick. I-S Magazine, 3(14), 10. (Call no.: RSING 052 ISM)
4.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN); Koh, J. (1998). Regarding Suntec: A behind-the-scene look at what makes the city tick. I-S Magazine, 3(14), 10. (Call no.: RSING 052 ISM)
5.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 35–36. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN); A city in a hand. (1991, October 23). The Straits Times, p. 2; Teo, G. (2002, March 22). Getting a feel of good fengshui. The Straits Times, p. 39; Tan, K-K. (2002, January 12). Not just hocus-pocus? Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6.
A city in a hand. (1991, October 23). The Straits Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 32, 35. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN) 
7.
What a splash! (1998, November 27). The Straits Times, p. 11; Cho, K. (2000, May 26). Staying on top. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 141. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN) 
9.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 142, 154–156. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN) 
10.
Rashiwala, K. (1997, November 12). Suntec City fountain enters Guinness Book. The Straits Times, p. 62. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 164–166. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN); Awash with lights. (1997, December 12). The Straits Times, p. 59. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
11.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 36. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN)
12.
Teo, G. (2002, March 22). Getting a feel of good fengshui. The Straits Times, p. 39; Tan, K-K. (2002, January 12). Not just hocus-pocus? Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13.
Tan, K-K. (2002, January 12). Not just hocus-pocus? Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
14.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 35–36. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN); Teo, G. (2002, March 22). Getting a feel of good fengshui. The Straits Times, p. 39; Tan, K-K. (2002, January 12). Not just hocus-pocus? Today, p. 8. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15.
Dawn of a new era in Singapore. (1992, December). Suntec: News from Suntec City, 2, 1. (Call no.: RSING 725.205 S); Breaking new ground in Singapore. (1992, June). Suntec: News from Suntec City, 1, 7. (Call no.: RSING 725.205 S); Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 60. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN)
16.
Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, pp. 60, 69–88. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN); Gearing up for mega-event era. (1992, June). Suntec: News from Suntec City, 1, 4. (Call no.: RSING 725.205 S)
17.
Foresight paid off for Suntec City’s investors. (1995, August 31). The Straits Times, p. 1; Suntec City is venue for WTO session. (1995, March 18). The Straits Times, p. 48. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Tan, K. E. (Ed.). (1998). Suntec City. Singapore: Times Editions, p. 100. (Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 SUN)
18.
Lim, C. (2011, November 1). Suntec to get $410m makeover. The Straits Times, p. 15; Lin, M. (2012, December 5). Suntec City to offer an “integrated” feel. The Straits Times, p. 8; Ong, C. (2013, September 13). Suntec City reopens after year-long makeover. The Straits Times, p. 14; Woo, J. (2014, October 22). Upgraded mall lifts Suntec Reit income. The Straits Times, p. 15. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resource
Manansala, F. V. (2011). Suntec City revisited. [s.l.]: [s.n.].
(Call no.: RSING 725.2095957 MAN)



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Commercial Buildings
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings
Commercial buildings
Convention facilities-- Singapore
Commercial buildings--Singapore
Arts>>Architecture>>Architectural structure