the OCBC Building- Technology





source: I.M. Pei : Complete Works.2008








IM Pei’s task was to design a building of the future as well as the symbol of strength and permanence, reflecting the corporation’s aims and image.

The building was 197.7 meters and 52 storeys in height. Its structure consists of two semi-circular reinforced concrete cores casted in-situ with a “slipform” mold, at the 4th, 12th and 15th floor, 3 tremendous steel trusses transverse girders, which house all the mechanical and electrical system and transfer loads to the core, forming a 3-tire system with each section cantilevered 6 meters away from the building. The 3-tire system enabled the building to be constructed simultaneously on 3 levels, allowing the construction to complete in 2 years. The technology was innovative at that time, providing local architects a chance to acquire the best technological know-how.

On the pragmatic side, since it was the tallest building at that time in a still developing country packed with low rise shophouses, the 3-tire system was adopted to bring out the best quality execution without intimidate local workers.  

Corresponding to its modernist architectural language, aside from the monolithic façade, concrete tiles, steel and glass was chosen for building finishing.

Below the 4th floor truss was a vast, column-free banking hall designed as required by Mr. Tan to “meet the eye of everyone entering the building”.

As described by Jodidio, “the tower sculpturally presents its slender ends to the narrow streets while broadly fronting on a major intersection.” (Jodidio, 2008)




StudioKALEIDO. The Abridged Pocketbook of Brutalist Architecture in Singapore. Singapore: National Library Board, 2013.

Jodidio, Philip., and Janet Adams Strong. I.M. Pei : Complete Works. New York: Rizzoli, 2008.

 source:Chairman followed development of project closely, The Straits Times, 1 October 1976, Page 30


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