Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton

Evelyn Houng Architects 61 Pte Ltd

Born in Penang of parents who were art teachers, Tay Lee Soon has always found himself always in the thick of discussions about art. His father's friends who were artists in Penang became his own friends and as a teenager, he was made to sketch historical colonial buildings like the Municipal Building and churches. With such exposure and an inherent passion for the arts, it is inevitable that he chose architecture. Lee Soon is the principal designer of Architects 61, which is credited for the design of Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton.

"The approach adopted for both the Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton was to 'design with the times, for the times'. In other words, the intent was to reflect, in architectural form and language, the technology and materials of the appropriate era."

"Whilst the historical material, every cornice detail, every panel of shanghai plaster was faithfully restored to its original condition; new interventions such as the conservatory at the Presidential Suite and the porte cochere were done in contemporary style such that the new and old are in a harmonious tension."

"Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton are contrasting buildings in that Fullerton Hotel is a restoration and an adaptively re-use of the General Post Office in the neo-classical style to its present-day internationally recognized heritage hotel. On the other hand, One Fullerton is a recreational and dining life-style building and as such, it is designed to be more playful, open and easily identifiable. Its wave-like roof form contrasts to the more rigid structure of the Hotel."

Naturally there were some challenges to the transformation of the Fullerton Building to the Fullerton Hotel. Lee Soon recounts, "One of which is the peculiar fact that the historical building was designed from the outside, hence the internal floor levels bear no relationship to the window heights. There were floors where the window sills were 1.8m above the floor. We had to 'raise' the floors with lightweight concrete slabs to rationalize the levels as best we could. Even so, for some rooms, there are windows at the feet which do offer interesting 'street' views. Similarly, there are fifth floor balconies that offer only sky views! This adds to the charm and uniqueness of the hotel."

Lee Soon says, "I believe that "old" does not equate to "beyond economic viability". If there is a will, coupled with a positive mindset and ideas to rejuvenate, old buildings may be restored and adaptively re-used to the enjoyment and benefit of all."

Conceived as a Bayfront landmark, One Fullerton's wavy roofs are inspired by the strong context. The elliptical drum with a view tunnel recalls images of vessels moored in the sea. "The glass and steel edifice with a willowy roof profile, juxtaposed against the majestic colonnade of the Fullerton Hotel, accentuates the poetic tension and brings out the lively contrast and diversity of the cityscape."

Tay Lee Soon counts it a great honour to work with his team: Ms Helen Chen, Mr Asnee Tasnaruangrong, Ms Evelyn Houng, Ms Siti Suriah, Ms Un Wai Kay and Mr Wu Zhiwei on the Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton project.

"Meeting clients and discussing and brain storming with young architects with aspirations and motivating them towards greater design is a constant challenge and helps me stay creative and connected."


Evelyn Houng Architects 61 Pte Ltd
Tay Lee Soon (Team Leader)
Helen Chen
Un Wai Kay
Siti Suriah Bte Taib
Wu Zhiwei
Asnee Tasnaruangrong

Precious Treasure Pte Ltd

The Fullerton Singapore

Thomas Sit
Lee Tuck Cheong
Oscar Faber Asia Pte Ltd (now Maunsell Consultants Pte Ltd)

Chan Sui Him
DP Consultants Pte Ltd

Andrew Moore
Hirsch Bedner Associates Pte Ltd

Ludwig Reichhold
Dragages Singapore Pte Ltd

‘‘Don't be an architect if you are unable to put your heart and soul in your work. One must have the passion for it.’’

Insights from the Recipient

What is the reponsibility of a designer to the commmunity or society?

Architects 61: At Architects 61, we strive to contribute to the urban fabric, and facilitate the conservation of our built heritage. In this case, the restoration of the old Fullerton Building and its transformation from office to hotel required us to not only treasure and enhance the memorable features that were entrenched in the building's history but, at the same time, our design needed to reflect the trends and meet the expectations of the modern day traveler.


‘‘Don't be an architect if you are unable to put your heart and soul in your work. One must have the passion for it.’’

Jury Citation

The Fullerton Hotel / One Fullerton combination encompasses boldness and sensitivity both in its adaptive reuse and contemporary approach. Fullerton Hotel is an excellent example of how built heritage can be successfully adapted for modern use, resulting in a high quality development with memorable spatial qualities. One Fullerton sports a dynamic, modern look but maintains a low building profile, complementing the neo-classical Fullerton Hotel. It weaves in a 'city room' which maintains visual porosity to Marina Bay. Although the two buildings appear as independent structures, the Jury appreciated how they are seamlessly connected to each other and the waterfront. This sensitivity to context and urban design is further expressed through the strategic positioning of a view corridor, allowing glimpses of the bay when travelling along Fullerton Road. Together with the Merlion and city skyline, the Fullerton Hotel / One Fullerton forms a distinctive, signature view of Singapore which is reflective of the city’s growth across the ages.


Nominator Citation



The Fullerton Square Project is a project, which Singaporeans should be proud of because it has achieved the highest international recognition as a project that is excellent in "all aspects of its creation" (including enhancing its surroundings and contribution to the community) by winning the FIABCI Prix d'Excellence Award 2003 conferred by the International Real Estate Federation based in Paris. This project has also won the Urban Land Institute Award conferred by the Urban Land Institute, USA in 2004.

Acknowledging that the Fullerton Building or former General Post Office is a national treasure, meticulous attention was given to ensure the interior design complements the grand architecture of the building. The interior design theme of New Asia blends well with its architecture. As part of the restoration process, the history of the building was recorded so that the hotel could continue to play a prominent role in Singapore's social scene. The restored treasures inside the hotel such as the covered ceiling of the Straits Rooms are now accessible to the public. The Fullerton Hotel and One Fullerton have enhanced their surroundings, bringing life and vitality back to the waterfront, thus revitalizing the Singapore River mouth.

Conservation and adapted re-use work were sensitive and met stringent guidelines laid down by the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Within a year of opening, it fulfilled the URA's vision of a five-star hotel of world class standing. The quality of work won two prestigious local awards - URA Architectural Heritage Award 2001 and SIA Design Award 2001.

To illustrate the excellent "Made in Singapore" conservation and adaptive reuse capability of Mr Tay Lee Soon and his team of architects of Architects 61 Pte Ltd, visitors to the Fullerton need only to marvel at the quality of the interior atrium. This elegantly conceived and implemented space is multi-functional and multi-focal, providing emphasis to the main grand staircase, whilst enhancing the expansive high ceiling experience of patrons to the food and beverage outlets and providing visual relief to hotel rooms above.

This work has placed Singapore on the world map as a country with the capabilities to do world-class restoration projects that are highly successful from the perspective of conservationists as well as from a commercial standpoint.

In addition, through the expertise and sensitivity of Mr Tay Lee Soon and Architects 61, the Fullerton demonstrates what is uniquely Singaporean - a fine balance between history, culture, modernity and growth. The Fullerton is a sensitively executed conservation and adaptively reused Grand Dame yet still fitting in well with the ever changing Singapore cityscape. The Fullerton is the pivot at the Singapore River connecting Singapore history with the global future - grand, sophisticated, cultured, refined yet current, relevant, updated and evolving always!