Post-independence Modernist Building
Pearl Bank Apartments was the tallest residential building in Singapore at 38 stories, when it was built in 1976. Sitting atop Pearl’s Hill, the horseshoe-shaped cylindrical building comprised apartments, penthouses, a commercial centre, a multi-storey car park, and a community area on the 28th floor called the “Sky Park”.
Pearl Bank Apartments was one of the iconic post-independence modernist buildings built during Singapore’s urban renewal periods in the 1970s. It was also the first large-scale public-private and mixed-use buildings entirely designed by Singaporean architects.
Designed in the modern architectural style by Mr Tan Cheng Siong and Mr Mok Yew Fun of Archurban Architects & Planners, the building was developed by Hock Seng Enterprises Pte. Ltd. The strata-titled private development was part of a series of innovative high-rise and high-density condominiums which sought to maximise land use by encouraging middle and upper-middle classes to choose these high-rise developments over landed properties.
In the 1980s and 1990s, things took a turn. The building was rife with criminal activities including a spate of burglaries and police raids where owners were caught renting out their properties to immigration offenders.
Changes Through the Years
The owners of Pearl Bank Apartments initiated a collective en-bloc sale in 2007, 2008 and 2011 but were unsuccessful. The owners then sought a conservation order in 2015 to attract developers to rejuvenate the building and build a new 27-storey residential block next to the existing tower, furnished with a rooftop garden, a swimming pool, and a bridge to the existing “Sky Park”. The proposal eventually fell through.
A New Development
On 13 February 2018, Pearl Bank Apartments was sold to CapitaLand in a S$728 million collective sale. In May 2019, CapitaLand unveiled One Pearl Bank, a 39-storey condominium slated to house a total of 774 apartments. Envisioned as a city park, the development will comprise two curved towers linked at the roof by sky bridges. It is scheduled for completion by 2023.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.SG are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.gov.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 Apr 2021 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.