The corporate headquarters of SingTel is distinguished by the microwave dishes mounted at the top of its tower, which link the centre with dishes across Singapore and the region, including those at the Sentosa earth satellite station, St John’s Island and even Gunung Pulai in West Malaysia.
Comcentre is best known as the corporate headquarters of telecommunications group SingTel to most Singaporeans. Unless one works there, though, one wouldn’t have much need to head there, as the company has many outlets and service centres across Singapore.
The completion of the building in 1979 marked an important milestone for the organisation. What we know as SingTel now was then a statutory board known as the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore or Telecoms for short, and Comcentre was a symbol of its success in providing basic telecommunication services to the public and its hope for the future new era in telecommunications.
As the complex accommodates administrative offices and telecommunication equipment, the building was designed to be functional and practical, featuring regular repetitive rectilinear geometrical elements and almost no decorative elements.
The idea that this building houses a telecommunications firm can be seen clearly in the main lobby and mezzanine floor, where the coffered ceiling represents the modern microwave communication system. The materials used, suspended glass walls, patterns of the tiles and even the structure of the staircase contribute to the aesthetics of the building.
The five-storey podium block, a flat and widely spread behemoth, stands in contrast with the adjoining 33-storey tower that has become a recognised part of the Orchard skyline. A plaza connects the buildings to one another.
A feature that reflects the distinctive function of this building, but is unusual for a skyscraper, are the microwave dishes on top of the tower block, which can transmit and receive radio frequency signals.
Being the first skyscraper in Singapore that had microwave dishes on its roof, the building is linked by its dishes to those across Singapore and the region, including those at the Sentosa earth satellite station, St John’s Island and even Gunung Pulai in West Malaysia.
Additionally, the complex was designed to conserve energy, so its main entrance was planned to face north, while the twin cores of the tower face east and west, providing shade and insulation to the building’s main body. The podium block was designed to be shielded from direct heat from the sun, due to the engineering operations equipment contained within.
In 2006, SingTel, which was corporatised and renamed in 1992, opened a $1 million Business Solutions Centre at Comcentre for business users to have a look at demonstrations of the latest communication solutions.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.SG does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of December 2019 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.