Live well at TMW Maxwell by Formwerkz Architects with its stacked sky terraces
In Singapore, rooftop gardens are becoming increasingly commonplace, as are sky gardens inserted into the upper floors of a tall building. So when Formwerkz Architects saw how the brief for TMW Maxwell requested “many sky terraces”, it knew it had to do something noteworthy.
Leading the charge was Alan Tay, one of the founding partners of Formwerkz. His solution? To have one of TMW Maxwell’s four sides entirely covered with vertically stacked sky terraces arranged in a staggered formation. He did not just stop there – each of the 11 spaces is conceptualised for a different function.
Therefore, when the building is completed in 2028 and one drives down Maxwell Road towards Marina South, the view of it is of a park-like aesthetic with verdant landscaping that rises from the fourth to the top floor. Parallels will probably inevitably be drawn with the Bosco Verticale in Milan.
“The biophilic approach is something that we are interested in our projects,” says Tay. “But we want to bring it further beyond greening or creating opportunities for planting. We want to make it really meaningful and offer enjoyable amenities for residents. More broadly, we want to explore how to shape Singapore in this way.”
Third places waiting to be found
Although technically a mixed-use development, TMW Maxwell is primarily a residential project with 324 studio, one- and two-bedroom units occupying levels four to 20. The first three floors and basement are for commercial use and the latter also includes an amphitheatre for gatherings or performances.
Those familiar with the neighbourhood will know that the site was once Maxwell House. Sitting on a long and thin plot of only 3,883.3sqm, the new development therefore had the challenge of maximising the permissible built area.
At the same time, it had to value-add to the Tanjong Pagar enclave that has a distinctive and attractive blend of old (heritage shophouses) and new (gleaming skyscrapers). These were just some of the factors that Tay had to consider in coming up with the solution he did.
“It is an extremely tight site with a prescribed envelope control that leaves little room for the creation of meaningful communal spaces and a less blockish design. Fortunately, we managed to work out a mitigated solution with the authorities to create a win-win for the development and city,” he explains.
Also nudging Tay in the direction of vertically stacked sky terraces was the developer’s vision of redefining the elements of a third space. Many of them are double volume too, for that added sense of drama. He elaborates, “If you buy a unit in TMW Maxwell, you don’t need to go downstairs but sideways to find your own social hang out.”
For sure the residents will have no shortage of options. For instance, levels six to seven is the TMW Study, perfect for reading or a Zoom meeting. The Do-It-All Deck on level 11 is, as its name suggests, where they can use it for whatever they wish.
Go higher and there are spaces for wellness and socialising over food and drinks. Levels 18 to 19 have a cocktail bar and the infinity-edged pool is on the rooftop. Everything culminates in the box-like Sky Lounge that offers a panorama of the city.
“The sky terraces are really the main amenity. To make them more conducive, we have individual, cosy spaces with landscaping that creates individual compartments for privacy,” shares Tay.
Appealing to multi-hyphenates
As a counterpoint, the two longer sides of the building have a simple, white grid-like design, echoing the architecture of the neighbouring high-rise office towers. Behind these are the residential units.
Tay also points out how the commercial floors have their own innovation by way of a second street on level two. A kind of pedestrian mall, it will be open 24/7 and links Maxwell Road to Tras Street. “This creates a different layer and elevates the street, so to speak,” he adds.
Connecting it with the upper floor are several spiral staircases that wind elegantly up, a nod to the urbanscape of the back alleys of the rows of shophouses TMW Maxwell overlooks.
On the inside, Formwerkz was responsible for the layout of the interior design. The sales gallery that currently stands on Peck Seah Street was also conceptualised by it, while the design and showflat fit-out was by FARM.
Noteworthy space-saving features are a walk-in wardrobe for the studio – ranging from 44 to 45sqm – where one of two sections is affixed onto rollers and allows it to shut completely. Neatly integrated into it is a flip-down study table. Each unit also comes with a queen-size Murphy Bed.
The marketing campaign, also designed by FARM, is themed multi-hyphenate, both in the way the spaces can be used, the nature of the neighbourhood, as well as the profile of buyers it is targeting to buy a unit. Tay could not agree more.
“It’s the essence of our architecture too. You can train for that vertical marathon in the stairwell or do burpees in any of the terraces. We name the spaces but the whole nature of it is up to your own interpretation or use. Whether you want to exercise, work or entertain, you will find your own spot but always in the midst of very lush, tropical foliage.”