UOB Plaza

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United Overseas Bank Plaza
Alternative names United Overseas Bank Plaza
General information
Type Commercial offices
Location Raffles Place
Downtown Core, Singapore
Coordinates 1°17′08″N 103°50′59″E / 1.28555°N 103.84972°E / 1.28555; 103.84972Coordinates: 1°17′08″N 103°50′59″E / 1.28555°N 103.84972°E / 1.28555; 103.84972
Construction started Plaza One: 1992
Completed Plaza One: 1995
Plaza Two: 1974
Owner United Overseas Bank
Management United Overseas Bank Property Management
Roof Plaza One: 280 m (920 ft)
Plaza Two: 162 m (531 ft)
Technical details
Floor count Plaza One: 66
Plaza Two: 38
Floor area Plaza One: 42,230 m2 (454,600 sq ft)
Design and construction
Architect Kenzo Tange Associates
丹下 健三都市、建筑设计、研究所
Architects 61
Architects Team 3
Developer United Overseas Bank
Structural engineer Arup
Main contractor Nishimatsu Construction
Lum Chang JV

United Overseas Bank Plaza (UOB Plaza) (Chinese: 大华银行大厦) is a complex with twin tower late-modernist skyscrapers in the city of Singapore. UOB Plaza One was one of the three tallest in the city, sharing the title with the OUB Centre and Republic Plaza, but now the second tallest since the construction of Tanjong Pagar Centre in 2016. UOB Plaza Two is the shorter and older building with construction completed in 1973 and later renovated in 1995 with a similar facade as UOB Plaza One. Both buildings are connected by a 45 m (148 ft) podium supported by four columns. The podium houses the banking hall of the United Overseas Bank's main branch. The building was opened by then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1995 which is 60 years after United Overseas Bank's founding.


Bonham building[edit]

Before the UOB Plaza, it stands Bonham building, which entrance looked towards Raffles place. Bonham Building was firstly occupied by Hermann Katz, Katz Brothers Ltd. The firm was co-founded in Singapore by Hermann Katz, a naturalised Englishman. When the Dutch were at war with Aceh in the 1870s, the Katz Brothers secured the contract to ship all supplies, especially foods to the Dutch army for three years.[7] It had the concession to distribute the petroleum to the firms in Malaya as well. During World war Ⅰ (1914-1918), shopkeepers closed their retail store owing to the difficulties of getting new stock.[8] After that, the building was owned by Yokohama Specie Bank (1916-1933).Singapore branches acted as regional centers and supplied and absorbed money to and from neighboring branches in each region and at the same time had close relationships with branches in the two major international financial centers, as well as Japan.[9] United Chinese Bank Limited (1935-1965) established and moved in with a paid-up capital of one million dollars generated from trading in commodities such as rubber and pepper as well as shipping, pooled their resources.[10] Thanks to a combination of innovative financial service led by the new managing director, Wee Cho Yaw, the bank grew exponentially and expanded its market. UCB opened its first overseas branch in 1965 and changed its name to the United Overseas Bank in order to avoid a clash of names with an existing bank in Hong Kong. Bonham Building was demolished in 1970 to make way for 30-storey UOB Building.

The architectural style is similar to European architecture of middle age, but tiles are used in some parts of the roofs. At the ground floor, inner space got smaller to make pathway with roof and it integrated with the street. Pedestrian, Jinrikisha and coach were the main movement on the street. It is an ornate building with intricate pattern. The Katz Brothers used Bonham building to sell imported supplies.

In the 1930s, after Katz Brothers closed the shop in Bonham Building, the dome on the roof was removed. Since Yokohama Specie Bank opened its branch in 1916, the building was used for financial activities. There were a considerable number of cars on the road and it was separated from pedestrian movement. As a result, there are no longer any small shops and trading activities on the street. In 1960s, the United Chinese Bank Limited moved in. It kept the same façade, windows and patterns. The central square was changed from car park to public square. The width of road was shrank so that there would be a few cars, but many people walking or taking a rest. Although a number of boats still remained in Singapore River, trading activities and markets replaced to hawker center.

UOB Plaza One[edit]

UOB Plaza One is a 280 m (920 ft) building with 67 floors, and was completed in 1992. It is the headquarters of the United Overseas Bank and major financial corporations such as UBS. On the 60th floor, there is a restaurant, Si Chuan Dou Hua. Its architecture is inspired by the U.S. Bank Tower in Los Angeles.

The basement of the building houses the Masjid Moulana Mohd Ali mosque, which is run by Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS). This mosque is the first in the Raffles Place district and is unique due to the mosque being located underground. This peculiarity has stirred controversy because to some Muslims, it is not good because it is located "in the bowels" of the earth.[11]

UOB Plaza Two[edit]

UOB Plaza Two is a 162 m (531 ft) building with 38 floors and was completed in 1974 with the building reconstructed again in 1995. The building was formerly the Bonham Building which housed the United Chinese Bank (now the United Overseas Bank) which changed its name to its current name in 1965, and the three-storey building was demolished to construct the 30-story building.[12]


The towers have an octagonal base and consists of rotated cubic volumes, which is a distinctive stylistic expression of Kenzo Tange's works in the 1990s. The cubic volumes on the octagonal base, they rotate on a 45 degree plane of reference and diminish in volume towards the top of UOB Plaza One. A six-storey podium links the two buildings together and skillfully accommodates the reconstructed UOB Building (now UOB Plaza 2). This place is a large airy atrium linking Raffles Place to Singapore River without entering the building. The banking hall has full height glass walls to see through the Singapore River from the financial district. The change in lighting brings out the geometric qualities of the building's architecture, highlighting the buildings with shafts of light and shadow. The external curtain wall system of the building represents a significant and innovative contribution of the evolution of building facades over time. The "performance wall" envelope of the towers is a composite of white and grey granite and insulated grey glass units. The atrium is also known as a "city room" and above it has a large office space and a large skylight, which gives the place natural lighting. A double storey sky lobby could be found on the 37th and 38th floors, which provide panoramic views of the city. It is also used for workers to transfer lifts from the lower floors to the higher floors. However, the sky lobby has been closed to the public due to security reasons after the September 11, 2001 attacks. There are two sculptures on the ground floor; Homage To Newton by Salvador Dalí in the city room, and another designed by Fernando Botero.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UOB Plaza One". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  2. ^ "UOB Plaza Two". CTBUH Skyscraper Database. 
  3. ^ UOB Plaza at Emporis
  4. ^ UOB Plaza at Glass Steel and Stone
  5. ^ "UOB Plaza One". SkyscraperPage. 
  6. ^ "UOB Plaza Two". SkyscraperPage. 
  7. ^ Katz Street. Page97: Final access on 11th, February 2016. https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=giWb_8UjPU4C&pg=PA97&lpg=PA97&dq=Katz+brot hers+Ltd+singapore&source=bl&ots=v7S_xVkVQC&sig=wNrmBxPTiqAPZPgcUttKP7n8p Qs&hl=ja&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiInobf7djKAhVHUY4KHeuKDpI4ChDoAQgmMAI#v=on epage&q=Katz%20brothers%20Ltd%20singapore&f=false
  8. ^ Singapore historical postcards from the national archives collection, Marshall Cavendish Editions: First published in 2005.
  9. ^ Finance and Financiers in European History 1880-1960: Final access on 15, February 2016. https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=iEigJWcqjhYC&pg=PA399&lpg=PA399&dq=yokoham a+specie+bank+singapore&source=bl&ots=I4qe8SkqXG&sig=ajddujfBz0r18ft6RzjB3fV489 g&hl=ja&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwij0cLRsPbKAhXEco4KHahnBjUQ6AEIJTAB#v=onepage& q=yokohama%20specie%20bank%20singapore&f=false
  10. ^ National Library Board: Final access on 15, February 2016. http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/history/events/0bd4896f-a1a4-4534-a844-97ad481bf1a3#2
  11. ^ National Heritage Board (2003). "Masjid Moulana Mohd Ali". Fun on Foot. Singapore Government. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 18 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "Marked Historic SitesUnited Overseas Bank". Heritage Trails. National Heritage Board. 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • 'Wong, Yunn Chii (2005). Singapore 1:1: A Gallery of Architecture & Urban Design. Singapore: Urban Redevelopment Authority. ISBN 981-05-4467-7. 

External links[edit]