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The twin-tower Gateway complex was designed for a highly prominent site at the entry into Singapore, flanked by two new roads that connect to the farthest reaches of the city. Impressed with the nation’s progress since he first visited in 1968, Pei designed the buildings to convey Singapore’s achievements and aspirations. A precisely detailed metal panel and tinted glass curtain wall satisfies energy requirements in the tropical climate while glistening in the ever-changing light as a forward-looking beacon to the future. The 37-story towers, parallelograms in plan, mirror each other on opposite sides of a landscaped fountain plaza. The geometric forms are simplified for quick recognition but modified by a triangular notch running from top to bottom to augment the sense of slender height. As in the East Building of the National Gallery of Art, Pei dramatized the buildings’ sculptural qualities with deceptively sharp corner angles, here 45 degrees. The prismatic mass makes conscious response to distant views and neighboring roadways so that it presents a highly changeable series of facets as one drives by in different directions. Pei would explore the same dynamics of movement and sculptural form on an urban scale for Immobiliaria Refotib in Mexico City (1981) and for the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong (1989).


Site plan / Courtesy of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Design Team: I.M. Pei, Design Partner; Bernard Rice and Pershing Wong, Design Architects
I.M. Pei & Partners