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Maximising retention of corner unit of Ellison Building affected by the construction of the North-South Corridor

  Published: 13 February 2018
After detailed studies and close consultation with heritage groups, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have developed a revised plan to maximise retention of the corner unit at Ellison Building. 
In designing the alignment of the North-South Corridor (NSC), the engineering team had to take into account the existing Downtown Line and North-East Line MRT tunnels and stations, the heavily built-up corridor lined with residential and commercial buildings, as well as the Rochor Canal. Hence, despite extensive engineering studies, the construction of a section of the NSC will impact one of the nine units that comprise Ellison Building, which stands at the junction of Selegie Road and Bukit Timah Road.
Since 2016, LTA and URA have met heritage groups, engineering consultant Arup Singapore Pte Ltd, and conservation specialist Studio Lapis, to discuss how best to protect Ellison Building and to overcome the various engineering challenges, in particular, the site’s ground conditions.  
After extensive technical discussions and studies, LTA’s revised plan will seek to maximise the retention of the affected corner unit, including the most prominent aspects of Ellison Building. This includes retaining the bay with the cupola – a significant rooftop architectural feature – and three-quarters of the corner unit’s facade panels (please refer to pictorial). During construction, engineers will remove only the panel which directly intersects the NSC tunnel, as this is necessary for the safe access of machinery. After NSC tunnelling works are completed, the affected unit will be reconstructed. Other historic elements that are moveable, such as the original timber window frames and the metal building name plate, will be temporarily removed and stored carefully for reinstatement in the future. 
LTA will incorporate the details of this construction and retention plan in its construction tender for this section of NSC. As the engineering solution to achieve this outcome is significantly more complex than the earlier proposal to remove and reconstruct all three affected bays, LTA will also put in place additional measures necessary to ensure that safety during the construction process and ultimate structural integrity and safety of the North-South Corridor are not compromised in any way. The contract for construction of this section of the NSC is expected to be awarded by the third quarter of 2018.