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Standing tall in Singapore with Sonny and CSYA

A striking eco-friendly building in Singapore’s business district stands tall as a statement of Web Structures’ innovation and engineering skills – and its long-term relationship with leading architects CSYA.

Web Structures has worked with award-winning architect Sonny Chan’s acclaimed Singapore-based practice on ground-breaking and iconic projects across Asia in 22 years of successful collaboration.

The Tokio Marine Center is just one of those projects, a fascinating facade of intersecting concrete columns, designed to resemble a bamboo cluster, makes the 21-storey office building a major local landmark.

As well as creating a major design statement, the facade, part of the innovative design by CSYA, also helps to shade and cool the building. The concept and idea was turned into reality by the engineering skills of Web Structures.

Group director Dr Hossein Rezai’s work with Sonny Chan stretches back to the early 1990s and the Plaza 138 mixed-use development in Kuala Lumpur, with its massive weight-bearing ‘tree columns’ – a concept that was thought to be unviable until he delivered the solutions.

The two practices also worked closely on a highly innovative competition entry for Maybank Chambers – a high-profile bank HQ project in Singapore.

In their entry a glazed pavement of a pedestrian plaza functions as a skylight to the basement banking hall. And to keep the entrance plaza column free an unconventional structural system was devised and developed by Web Structures.

Sonny Chan says that it is this innovation and desire to provide designers and architects with engineering solutions to challenging questions that makes Web Structures stand out.

He says: “Hossein and Web Structures always try to understand and appreciate the design intent of the architect. They are not just fixated by what they know.

“For them it’s not about providing the solution they are familiar with and altering the design accordingly; Web Structures never changes anything when it comes to our concept. It is a refreshing experience to work with them.

“As a result we have done so many projects together, using their understanding and knowledge, their innovation and enthusiasm.

“It really gives you confidence to be working with a good structural engineer, one where experimentation is encouraged. Web Structures’ attitude is: the more challenging the project, the better.

“Take the Tokio Marine Center design. Hossein and his team just took the concept of the concrete ‘bamboo’ columns outside the building and ran with it.”

Among the growing list of collaborative work is the striking Cambridge Forest hotel with its glass bottom swimming pool cantilevered from the roof top and shopping mall in Shanghai and Park Seven, a boutique high-rise residential building in an established urban setting in central Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Hossein Rezai says: “We have a long and happy relationship with Sonny and CSYA which stretches back to our very beginnings in 1996. He helped me a lot in every aspect in those early days.

“We’ve worked with his practice on projects across the region and they all have the same important things in common – good architecture and structure and sustainable design.

“Originality and authenticity are the two traits that are repeated in all of the firm’s work and the practice’s technical knowledge of materials and their expected behaviour is excellent.

“CSYA’s designs have great impact and give us the chance to work and come up with innovative engineering solutions, which is really satisfying.

“For instance, the bamboo cluster facade designed by CSYA for Tokio Marine posed interesting engineering challenges for us.

“The result of successfully meeting those challenges is a building that really stands out, not only in the way it looks, but also in the eco-friendly approach taken.”

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