Danish architect reveals mind-blowing skyscraper in Singapore

280 meters tall, reigning in the center of Singapore with the grey metal bending to make room for trees growing out of the building.

That is the basic idea behind a yet unnamed skyscraper designed in a collaboration between the Italian architect group Carlo Ratti Associati and the Danish Bjarke Ingels Group, commonly known as B.I.G.

The yet unnamed skyscraper will be among the tallest of Singapore. Photo: Bjarke Ingels Group

The best way to describe the building is that most of it is a pretty common skyscraper – huge, grey and with some irregular shapes here and there. But almost half way up, the skyscraper sort of stops to make room for a giant garden, or more correctly, a forest, with the metal pipes bending to make room.

“BIG’s design seeks to continue Singapore’s pioneering vertical urbanism with the 280-metre-tall diverse community of places to work, live and play inside as well as outside,” said Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner at BIG. “At multiple elevations, the facade peels open to reveal urban oases for its users and the surrounding city – animating the elegant smoothness of modern architecture with the ubiquitous tropical nature.”

The skyscraper will be built on 88 Market Street and will be among the tallest buildings in the constantly developing Singapore, 51 storeys tall.

Hong Kong: ninth-most expensive place to be an expat

After dropping out of the top-ten in 2016, Hong Kong is now the world’s ninth-most expensive location for expatriates. In the Asia-Pacific region it is the second-most expensive location, only topped by Tokyo, Japan, which also comes in at number eight in the world. The list was recently released by the ECA international, which includes rankings of over 260 places worldwide.

“Hong Kong has now overtaken cities in Japan to reclaim its place in the top ten most expensive locations. Faster rates of price increases in Hong Kong combined with a strengthening of the dollar against the yen both contributed to Hong Kong leapfrogging many of the Japanese locations that were ranked above it last year.” Lee Quane, Regional Director – Asia, ECA International said.

Asian cities dominate the list of top 50 most expensive locations, making up over half the entries. Other Asian cities in the top 20 in the world are Seoul (11), Shanghai (12), Beijing (16), Yokohama (18), Nagoya (19), and Osaka (20). The three last Japanese cities were all in top-ten last year.

Singapore has fallen in the rankings and is now the 21st most expensive city surveyed. This is the first time since 2014 that Singapore has not featured in the top 20.

Three Scandinavian cities are also to find in the top-20: Oslo (7), Stavanger (10), and Copenhagen (14).

The most expensive city in the world for expats is Angola’s capital Luanda:

“The cost of goods typically purchased by international assignees in Luanda, which was already high due to poor infrastructure and high oil-fuelled demand, continues to be pushed even higher. The Angolan kwanza is increasingly overvalued, which pushes up relative costs; while the ongoing weakness of the black-market exchange rate has also inflated the price of imported goods,” Lee Quane explained.

ECA International is the world’s leading provider of knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world. ECA International has been conducting research into cost of living for over 45 years. It carries out two cost of living surveys per year to help companies calculate cost of living allowances so that their employees’ spending power is not compromised while on international assignment. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in 262 locations worldwide. Certain living costs, such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are usually covered by separate allowances. Data for these costs are collected separately and are not included in ECA’s cost of living basket.

Global top 20 most expensive locations
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Luanda 1 2
Khartoum 2 21
Zurich 3 3
Geneva 4 4
Basel 5 6
Bern 6 8
Oslo 7 14
Tokyo 8 1
Hong Kong 9 11
Stavanger 10 20
Seoul 11 12
Shanghai 12 13
Tel Aviv 13 19
Copenhagen 14 23
Jerusalem 15 22
Beijing 16 15
Kinshasa 17 10
Yokohama 18 5
Nagoya 19 7
Osaka 20 9
Top 20 most expensive locations in Asia-Pacific region
Location 2017 ranking 2016 ranking
Tokyo 1 1
Hong Kong 2 5
Seoul 3 6
Shanghai 4 7
Beijing 5 8
Yokohama 6 2
Nagoya 7 3
Osaka 8 4
Singapore 9 9
Busan 10 10
Guangzhou 11 11
Ulsan 12 12
Macau 13 13
Shenzhen 14 14
Taipei 15 15
Chengdu 16 17
Dalian 17 16
Qingdao 18 21
Nanjing 19 18
Xi’an 20 22

Historical Thai-Danish house for sale in Ebeltoft, Denmark

In Ebeltoft, a romantic town near Randers and Arhus in Denmark, a house carries the intriguing name “Lille Siam” or in English “Little Siam”. And yes, indeed it has a story to tell!

But what brings focus on this house to day is, that the current owner – Palle Havmoeller, the half-Thai-half-Danish son of Rasmus and Nang Boon Sri, – has put the uniquely located property on the Coastal road in Ebeltoft with a view to the Bay on the market.

“My daughter is moving to Denmark to study and the economy around that necessitates that I sell the house,” says Palle Havmoeller.

“Currently, the house is rented out but the rent expires in the spring and then it is available for sale.”

“Lille Siam” was built by Palle’s father Rasmus Havmoeller in 1937 after he returned from Thailand a few years before with his Thai wife Nang Boon Sri.

Here is the description of the property on the property agents website:

“The house is build by the current owners father in 1937 in a Thai style with a special roof. It underwent a major renovation in 1960.

The house has en entrance with wooden plank floor. The bedroom and living room has a wooden floor as well and an exceptional view. The bathroom has shower and there is a multi purpose room for clothes washing etc.

The kitchen is open and bright with a gas stove, oven and refrigerator.

Total square meter is 107 on the large but easily maintained 1240 sq.m land.

All rooms are centered around the main living room. One more living room has a wood fired heater and an equally great view. An exciting and somewhat unusual property. The house is rented out until the spring of 2018.”

What only the few will know is the unique tragic – and heroic – story behind this special piece of Thai-Danish heritage:

The whole story is retold here by Flemming Winther.