Surbana Jurong to design Royal Star Tower condo-hotel in Vietnam’s Ha Long City

Royal Star Tower Vietnam architecture

Royal Star Tower as envisioned for the Ha Long coastline in Quang Ninh province.

Surbana Jurong was appointed by Royale Star Ha Long Joint Stock Company (RSHL) to provide the architectural concept and basic design for a mixed-use condominium-hotel complex in Ha Long City in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. The 30-storey condo-hotel, known as Royal Star Tower, is envisioned to be an iconic development in the precinct.

Spanning a gross floor area of 120,000sqm, the complex will be designed with a good mix of residential, commercial and recreational spaces. The top two floors are reserved for 10 luxurious penthouses with spectacular sea views, a rooftop sky garden and infinity pool. The win may be credited to Surbana Jurong’s design capabilities and experience in urban developments.

Surbana Jurong wins 28 accolades at BCA Awards 2018

SkyResidence @ Dawson BCA Awards Surbana Jurong
SkyResidence @ Dawson

Surbana Jurong increased its haul of accolades at the recent Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Awards, scoring three more than the 25 won last year. This is the largest haul for the Group at the awards since participating as a newly merged entity in 2015. Among the awards won were the BCA Construction Excellence and BCA Green Mark for Buildings awards.

NUS SDE4 BCA Awards Surbana Jurong
NUS School of Design & Environment, SDE 4

The projects also span diverse sectors – from public and private residential buildings, to food processing centres, government buildings and healthcare – which reflects the comprehensive suite of solutions offered by Surbana Jurong

“As one of the largest Asia-based urban, industrial and infrastructure consultancies, winning the BCA awards is a testament to the quality of our work and underscores our continued design and engineering excellence,“ said Surbana Jurong GCEO Wong Heang Fine about the scoop of awards.

Bedok Food City BCA Awards Surbana Jurong
Bedok Food City

At Surbana Jurong, we believe that development is more than just steel and concrete. Surbana Jurong approaches all our projects with the same philosophy – that what we design and build must be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. We create spaces and design infrastructure where people live, work and play, shaping cities into homes with sustainable jobs where communities and businesses can flourish. We also embrace the use of technology such as BIM and artificial intelligence, to enhance our business performance and offer our clients better solutions. BCA is Singapore’s regulatory body for the building and construction industry under the Ministry of National Development.

Buangkok Square Neighbourhood Centre BCA Awards Surbana Jurong
Buangkok Square Neighbourhood Centre

Surbana Jurong’s winning projects at the BCA Awards 2018

BCA Construction Excellence 2018
1. Hillsta

BCA Construction Productivity Award (Projects) 2018
2. Residential Halls at Nanyang Crescent, NTU – Platinum
3. Clementi Ridges – Gold
4. Woodlands Care Home – Gold

BCA Universal Design Mark 2018
5. The Visionaire – Gold

BCA Green Mark Award 2018
6. Bedok Food City – Platinum
7. Buangkok Square Neighbourhood Centre – Platinum
8. Customs Operations Command at Jalan Bahar – Platinum
9. JTC Poultry Processing Hub – Platinum
10. NUS School of Design & Environment, SDE 4 – Platinum
11. Outram Community Hospital – Platinum
12. Selarang Park Complex – Platinum
13. Seletar Airport Passenger Terminal – Platinum
14. SkyResidence @ Dawson – Platinum
15. State Courts Towers – Platinum
16. Buangkok Edgeview – Gold PLUS   
17. NIM Collection – Gold PLUS   
18. iNz Residence – Gold PLUS   
19. The Visionaire – Gold PLUS  
20. Adult Disability Home+Day Activity Centre – Gold
21. Anchorvale Parkview – Gold
22. Blossom Spring @ Yishun – Gold
23. Geylang C43B + Park – Gold
24. Kallang Fire Station – Gold
25. Keat Hong Garden – Gold
26. Selarang Park Complex, Phase 1 – Gold
27. Yung Kuang Court (Jurong West N1 C31) – Gold
28. Overseas – Hangzhou Riverfront Mansion – Certified

Surbana Jurong wins BCI Asia Top 10 Architects Award

Surbana Jurong BCI Asia Awards architecture firms in Singapore
Michael Vong, Deputy Managing Director, Building Consultancy Services(centre) flanked by Xavier Courboin, Managing Director & Marketing Director Asia for building materials firm Technal (left) and BCI Asia’s Chairman, Dr Matthias Krups.

Surbana Jurong has been named one of Singapore’s top 10 firms for architecture for 14 years running.

The BCI Asia Awards gave out its annual Top Ten Awards recently at a ceremony that recognises the country’s leading developers and architecture firms that have made the greatest contributions to the region’s built environment.

The awards, which were started in 2003, is one of the most anticipated and coveted awards for the construction sector in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong SAR. Surbana Jurong has won the accolade every year since its inception.

The awards are given out by BCI Media Group, which covers Asia-Pacific building and construction news. Michael Vong, Deputy Managing Director, Building Consultancy Services, received the award for Surbana Jurong.

This award is a testament to Surbana Jurong’s longstanding position as one of the top architecture firms in Singapore. It lends due recognition to all our architects and technical staff, validating their hard work and commitment to delivering sound design and overall architectural excellence.

Gongqing win for Surbana Jurong in China

Myanmar infrastructure forum
Surbana Jurong and Sino-Sun, member of the Surbana Jurong Group, are collaborating on the master planning and architectural design of the township in Jiangxi, China.

Gongqing town was a country town brimming with potential. Situated close to Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, it was re-zoned for urban development, and recently, Surbana Jurong and Sino-Sun, member of the Surbana Jurong Group, jointly embarked on architectural design for the township, fulfilling the local government’s wish to create an integrated, mixed-use development there.

Last year, the team won the project to conduct the master planning for the 48ha greenfield project there, with a total GFA estimated at 1.2 million sqm. The plan revolves around a 3km-long looped garden that winds through high- and low-rise residential blocks, commercial buildings, an international school, and healthcare and recreational facilities.

By linking the sub-plots and functions together with this green pathway, a “walkable” and vibrant town is born. Jiangxi province, in southeast China, is also home to the Jiujiang port city and Jingdezhen, China’s famous home of porcelain-making.

The project is expected to be completed in Q3 2019.

Legacy planning in building & construction – Case study: The Olympic Games

Olympic host cities in the past have struggled, and some have failed, to establish a meaningful function for the infrastructure after the Games. The concept of legacy planning for global mega-events & venues, and even other build environments, is of paramount importance – to ensure sustainability and economic growth for the host cities, and beyond. All eyes on the upcoming 2020 Olympics where Tokyo stands host to, we discuss the pitfalls of previous host cities’ post-games infrastructural planning, and the shining example of London’s 2012. 

Notable Olympic host cities’ failures were Moscow, Beijing to an extent, and probably the most prominent, Athens. Large investments were injected to create showpieces for the duration of the Games, but ended up as eyesores thereafter. The infrastructure fell into total disrepair and became derelict. This stemmed from a lack of vision for the long-term functioning of space and its components. The vision was short-sighted and ad hoc at best, and meant only for the successful hosting of the Games.

The Athens Games has come to represent this failure. Twenty-one of the 22 venues were abandoned after the Games concluded, lying as derelicts overrun with rubbish and weeds. The tales of empty, forlorn and rundown infrastructure are well documented. These abandoned venues represent the desire to showcase grandeur with no consideration for a post-Games use. The result is these massive structures lying idle and bleeding the economy.

Planning for longevity of these Olympic structures and their use should be paramount for such infrastructure (owing to its size and scale of investments), this should also be imbued into the design and planning of other built-infrastructure. Multiplicity of use or flexibility for conversion from one type of use to the other helps to extend the life-time of buildings, re-invigorate their neighbourhood locale and in return, massive savings to both the economy and the environment. Such examples of re-purposing existing infrastructure are being increasingly pursued in land-constrained and immensely-dense Hong Kong. A remarkable example is:

Chai Wan Factory Estate

The Chai Wan Factory (built in 1959), was converted into a public rental housing called Wah Ha Estate in 2015. This redevelopment project now houses about 200 families. Such retro-fitting not only involves revision to the spatial layout, but also installing required infrastructure to meet the latest health and safety regulations (especially those pertaining to fire safety and sanitation). The building is also graded by the AAB (Antiquities Advisory Board) as Grade 2 Historic Building.

Chai Wan Factory Estate re-furbished as a public housing estate.

2012, London – Planning a Successful ‘Legacy’ Phase

With the fear of post-Games deterioration looming, London began with caution from the onset in 2005. Their solution lay in identifying, delineating and planning for the Games Mode, as well as Legacy Mode. The legacy planning intended infrastructure to provide use and function for a separate set of users after the Games. The challenge was to allow a smooth transition from the former to the latter, and to plan and build to cater to the needs of each mode without surplus in either. The dichotomy of planning every infrastructure in two modes was established. This translated to a concept of segregating the way the infrastructure is built for what would be needed for the present, vis-à-vis that for the future. Features that would remain and be used beyond the Games were to be built as permanent structures, while other surplus structures catering only to the Games would be of temporary nature and be removed, thus avoiding waste and redundancy.

The Olympic Games are often a catalyst to inspire the city to transform. London used the Olympics to regenerate a wasteland (the heavily industrialised area of Stratford, East London) into what is now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The 2.5-square kilometre site housed most of the venues, residences and plazas. After the Games, the spaces now comprise two zones:

  • the north zone has parklands, a Velopark, a business district, training centres for hockey and tennis, and a low-rise development;
  • the south zone has the Aquatic Centre (reorganised for schools, the community, and elite athletes, with a reduced capacity), the Olympic Stadium with a reduced capacity (to bring the lucrative Premier League football to the park), high rise housing, and a 55-acre landscaping project by James Corner.

To realise the Legacy Mode, the built structures were purpose-built for transformation. This enabled the structures to either be scaled down or disassembled completely, allowing them to be stored for reuse later. The London Games ventured to build facilities with energy-efficient, sustainable, and recyclable designs, to reduce the energy and water demands, and keep the Games clean and green.

2012, London – Implementing the ‘Legacy’ Phase

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) began working right after the Games to bring life and fervour back to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The intended transformations of the venues, scaling down or disassembling, took time. “The sight of cranes and construction works across the site was necessary to reach the Legacy Mode”, said Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the LLDC. It is important to phase different transformational activities so that the site does not lose the interest and vibrancy of the Games. Keeping the site void of activities other than construction for too long would make it an economic black hole.

In April 2014, LLDC reopened the parklands in the north zone and James Corner’s urban park in the south to entice people to return. The Aquatic Centre has been scaled down after the removal of its wings. It now functions as a swimming centre for the community at large. However, not everything went to plan. The greatest challenges have been economic ones relating to ownership and conflicts of interests. These have resulted in unintended design changes, construction cost overruns, and delays.

The prominent example of this has been the Olympic Stadium. The Legacy master plan intended its capacity to be reduced from 80,000 to 25,000, keeping it as an athletics stadium, which was needed in the city. However, for economic sustenance, ownership had to be leased. After six years of tussle, a Premier League football club—West Ham United—has been given a 99-year lease. But this comes with several changes to the Legacy plan for the stadium—it is no longer an athletic facility, but a prime Premier League stadium. The capacity was increased to 54,000. The stadium will have a new roof; the entire pitch was rebuilt with the requirements of a football ground; and a 1,000-capacity car park added. Despite these challenges, the Legacy Plan is scheduled to be completed by 2030. The people of the neighbouring boroughs acknowledge that the investments in the park have enhanced one of the most neglected and derelict parts of London. The space and the venues continue to garner the enthusiasm of visitors. More than the physical infrastructure, longevity has been about the community.

The illustrations below show some of the stages that helped to transform the London Stadium to a purpose-built Football stadium:

Illustration A: Necessary retrofitting to the structure
Illustration B: Extending the Roof over the seating stands
Illustration C: Adding stands and pavillions
Illustration C: Adding stands and pavillions

Images Source: (These images illustrate only graphical representation of the transformations, and may not be accurate in terms of technical details.)

The London Olympic stadium during the 2012 Games versus The Olympic stadium now refurbished as a Football Stadium.

2016, Rio – So, What Went Wrong?

The London Games have successfully demonstrated a different paradigm with structures that could be transformed, scaled down, disassembled, and stored, looking past the two-to-three-week extravaganza to what is needed for the community and the city for years to come.

The Rio Olympics in Brazil in 2016 had incorporated several of these ideas to develop their infrastructure in their particular context. One example was the Handball Arena – named the Future Arena (Portuguese: Arena do Futuro), which was designed to be disassembled after the Games and reassembled as four schools serving the community. As of August 2017, these plans have however been abandoned by Rio’s mayor Marcelo Crivella. They had also planned for the Games Mode distinctly from the Legacy Mode, and phased out the entire development with an intermediate phase of seven years to transition from the Games to the Legacy Mode. Mis-management of the projects’ planning and implementation led to major budget over-runs. The consequent economic strains led to ad hoc fixes which defeated the ideas for the Legacy phase. The iconic Maracana stadium could no longer be operated due to budget deficits, and it was looted and vandalized; while the ambitious waste-treatment facilities never materialised and Rio continues to languish as it did before the Games.

Rio Olympic Venues a year later. (Photo credits: Reuters/David Gray)

2020, Tokyo – Planning for Another Legacy after 1964

The planning for the Tokyo Games also began in the right earnest from the very onset, while the Games was at bidding stage. Unlike the usual approach, Tokyo decided that they will retrofit existing structures throughout the city, including the same stadium built for the 1964 Games – an idea which has been supported and advocated by the International Olympic Council. The 1964 Games had succeeded in achieving for Tokyo what most cities like Athens and Rio aspired to achieve by hosting these prestigious Games. It marked Japan’s complete re-entry into the post-war world and bolstered the country’s incredible reconstruction effort. To repeat the success, Tokyo will re-use three venues from those Games, thus reinforcing the concept of Olympic Legacy:–

  • Yoyogi National Gymnasium, known for its eye-catching suspension roof design, was the venue for swimming and basketball in 1964, and will host handball in 2020;
  • Table tennis will be held at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which was home to water polo and gymnastics in 1964;
  • Judo will return to Nippon Budokan.

Tokyo also plans to revitalize its waterfront by siting the Olympic village there. However, Tokyo is still grappling with time and cost as work surges ahead to open the Games in 2020. In the context of hosting events of this scale, and with a magnitude of cost and high-density urban projects, it makes sense that scalability and temporality are addressed in the early part of planning. At the same time, sound political will and temperament is required to realize the plans, without which they risk falling apart as seen in Athens and Rio.

Here, it is not about the permanency of static physical elements that ensures a structure’s longevity. Urban planners will also need to consider the flexibility of structural conversion in our design and built environment – and success lies in anticipating the versatility of change.

It is also about putting into place ideas that create lasting value for the community.

This article is co-created by Surbana Jurong Academy.

An interview with Mr Rick Yeo, Surbana Jurong’s Senior Principal Architectural Associate

An interview with Mr Rick Yeo, Surbana Jurong's Senior Principal Architectural Associate
In the spotlight: An interview with Mr Rick Yeo on working overseas

It takes attitude, aptitude and adaptability to undertake an overseas work assignment. Sharing stories of personal experience and challenges, Mr Rick Yeo, from BCS Architecture Studio 1, explains why.

Working on international projects, it is necessary to travel for client meetings, presentations and to better understand the country and its operating environment. For Rick, the opportunity for an overseas job posting was initially borne out of necessity. “I have been working on projects in China for the longest time. I was travelling so much for business that I’d figure it was the right time for me to be posted there. Too many red-eye flights to China and the hotel nights do wear you down.”

Rick, who was posted to China in 2013 and has since returned to Singapore, shares: “When working overseas, I had the opportunity to pick up in-depth market knowledge and cultivate networks. The experience opened my mind and heart to other specialisations outside of architecture as I was involved in other aspects of business operations including management and business development, all of which are valuable exposure for career and personal development.”

Working in a foreign land, it is important to have the right attitude. It also helps to have a strong network of teammates who provide strength and support. Rick shares, “Throughout my two years in China, I am very grateful for colleagues and teammates who always stand ready to lend support. I am thankful for the collaborative work culture in SJ. A special shout-out for my band of dedicated brothers & sisters in SJ China Ops.” Working abroad is certainly challenging and exciting at the same time. He adds, “For colleagues who are presented with the opportunity to work overseas, my advice is to keep an open mind and go for it. After all, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.”


  • Shanghai is the largest and wealthiest city in China
  • China only has 1 time zone — even though it’s about the same size as the US
  • A developer in China built a complete 57-story skyscraper in just 19 days
  • The Shanghai Tower is the 2nd tallest building in the world at 2,073 ft, nearly twice the height of the Eiffel Tower
  • Shanghai has the longest metro system in the world with 548km of track

Surbana Jurong emerges top in design competition and secures one of its largest HDB projects

tampines north hdb project surbana jurong project design competition

Surbana Jurong has clinched one of its largest HDB project to-date after it emerged top in a design competition organised by the Housing and Development Board. We will be providing multi-disciplinary services including architecture, C&S engineering, M&E engineering, cost & contracts management and project management services.

Both Surbana Jurong and CESMA were two of the top five finalists in the competition, pitching against other renowned architectural firms. Surbana Jurong’s submission stood out amidst intense competition, and it won following a Quality Fee Method (QFM) of evaluation which recognises the quality of design as a key criteria.

The new HDB project is a built-to-order (BTO) development in Tampines North (Plots N6 C8-10). It comprises residential, commercial and social facilities and is situated near the main park in the newly master planned Tampines North. This new north region is built as an extension of the existing Tampines estate and will feature a new linear park linking it to the existing Tampines Eco Green and Sun Plaza parks. When completed in 2017, the project will house 2,020 dwelling units.