Global architecture firm Büro Ole Scheeren has completed the DUO twin towers in Singapore. Designed to inject life into what the firm describes was once “a broken piece of the city,” the buildings are the first collaborative development between the governments of Malaysia and Singapore. “DUO is a joint venture between two countries, and the project has come to represent this important duality,” said firm principal Ole Scheeren. “Our architecture articulates the dynamic relationship of two urban figures and generates symbiotic effects beyond the project itself with a positive impact on the larger context.”

Located between the Kampong Glam district and Bugis Junction, DUO essentially performs as a “space-generator,” according to the architect. The two towers are carved to create circular public spaces that not only integrate neighboring buildings but encourage visitors to explore the immediate area. One of the towers houses 660 apartments, while the other contains corporate offices and a hotel. Both towers have elevated terraces that offer a great view of the city’s skyline.  Commercial spaces are spread throughout the ground level, where walkways and gardens loop in and out of the buildings. “The main gesture of DUO is to give something back to the city,” said Scheeren. “We didn’t want a gated community or a privatized space, so we created a 24-hour accessible public realm that connects to all of the different aspects of the surrounding city.”

DUO’s most defining feature, perhaps, is its honeycomb-like skin. “The honeycomb expresses the dynamic curvatures of the façade and simultaneously becomes an environmental tool,” Scheeren said. Each tower is clad in a series of hexagonal sunshades that, when seen altogether, create a hive. The shades protect the towers from the sun’s heat and glare without compromising views of the horizon.