Cover The refurbishment of the St. James Power Station took nearly three years, with many exterior aspects preserved as much as possible

Housed within the historic national monument St James Power Station, Dyson's new global headquarters in Singapore retains many of the building's architectural elements whilst incorporating innovative sustainable features

After a much-anticipated wait since their announcement three years ago, technology company Dyson officially opened the doors to its new global headquarters today. Located within the historic St James Power Station, the 110,000 sq ft refurbished site will serve as a key operational and research centre for the company, which is renowned for its innovative bagless vacuum cleaners. 

Landlord and real estate developer Mapletree Investments worked closely with Singapore-based studios W Architects and Studio Lapis to restore the iconic landmark. Gazetted as a national monument in 2009, the St James Power Station was first built in 1927 and had served as Singapore’s first coal-fired power station and powered the island-state before it was decommissioned in 1975. Afterwards, it functioned as one of the region's first automated warehouse during the eighties; it also became one of Asia’s most comprehensive nightspots from 2006 to 2018.

Don't miss: Covid-19 Changemakers: James Dyson’s New Ventilator for Hospitals

While the exterior features preserved historical architectural elements, the newly refurbished interior exudes a contemporary air with its industrial design. 

“We are honoured to be the custodians of this cathedral-like building,” notes the British inventor James Dyson, founder and chairman of Dyson. “Its rich history and architectural heritage will serve as a most inspiring backdrop as we pursue revolutionary new technologies.”

Here, we pick out some of the key highlights of the new building:

1. Historic roots

Seeking to retain and preserve aspects of the building’s past history as much as possible, the design team carefully restored the exterior brick facade of the original power station to the best of their abilities. Each brick was carefully assessed by skilled artisans and restored by hand; only bricks that were deemed too severely damaged were replaced.

The iconic beams, columns, and roof trusses were stripped to bare finish, de-rusted and thereafter repainted with fresh coats of paint. External features, such as the flag poles, corbels, and mild steel windows, which were previously removed due to other renovation works, have also been restored with similar materials.

In case you missed it: 8 Amazing Architecture Projects to See in 2022

2. The Stunning Staircase

The statement staircase of the building was said to take the form of a cyclone by James Dyson himself, reported the Straits Times; possibly as a playful reference to the powerful air suction prowess of the vacuum cleaners and other notable appliances from the British brand. 

3. Eco-conscious Elements

The St James Power Station is designed to use minimal embodied carbon, with the building meeting the International WELL Building Gold and Green Mark Platinum standards. This includes harnessing the use of sustainable, recycled and environmentally-friendly materials; inside, the spaces are fitted with carbon-neutral flooring and feature sustainable acoustic engineering.

Dyson’s office has also been designed to support the wellbeing of its workers. Innovative Dyson lighting technology is engineered to complement natural light for enhanced focus, while Dyson purifiers are installed to manage the air quality within the space.

4. A heritage trail and gallery open to public

Mapletree Investments has also collaborated with Studio Lapis to design and curate a heritage trail and gallery showcasing Singapore’s port and industrial heritage. These public spaces, currently slated to open at the end of March, aim to present Singapore’s history as a trading hub and its transformation to a city centre.

The heritage trail will feature maritime artefacts around the monument, while the heritage gallery, housed in one of the iconic chimneys, will feature restored maritime and industrial relics. The gallery will also commission a special interactive artwork that aims to add a modern edge to the building with digital technology that will “showcase the intricate power generation process”.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.