AD Classics: The Colonnade Condominiums / Paul Rudolph

© Cooney-Hughes

Initially intending to design a housing structure as a set of prefabricated units hoisted onto a structural frame, the ideas and visual intricacies of ‘s Colonnade Condominiums were developments of the previously designed but unbuilt Graphic Arts Center of Manhattan.

More on The Colonnade Condominiums after the break.

© Cooney-Hughes

Rudolph referred to these replicable units as the “twentieth-century brick,” a means of construction that would seemingly make construction of large scale buildings more feasible. However, as Rudolph came to find upon the time of construction, technical and financial reasons expelled the possibility of the prefabricated units. Instead, the Colonnade was built of pour-in-place concrete, which still successfully conveyed the appearance of his initial design goals.

© De Alba

His intentions of designing prefabricated parts were to fuse flexibility of spaces with a standardized structural system and parts. What became very important in the Colonnade Condominiums was the particular attention paid to the climate and environment of ; the abundance of sunlight was crucial in the layouts of spaces in the units.

The climate of Singapore sustains the most beautiful landscapes and greenery, thus the views from the large windows are some of the most beautiful in the world. The locations of bedrooms and more private spaces are shielded from the sun by the glazed windows.

The massive structure’s floor plan is divided into four rectangular quadrants, each bound by substantial room for vertical and horizontal circulation. Movement under the tower is encouraged, as the units are lifted off of the ground on a series of columns, which are lined in two closely-spaced rows, hence the name of the condominiums.

© De Alba

These columns lift the bases of the four quadrants at different heights; shifting floor planes are a common theme within the works of Paul Rudolph. Each unit is two stories high, with an open living and dining area, a large kitchen, and a balcony. The first floor features a guest room and bathroom, and the second floor houses two larger bedrooms. The precedent of this layout is Le Corbusier’s Pavilion de I’Espirit Nouveau; the staggering of vertical heights and the lofting of bedrooms over the public areas create wonderful views and gathering spaces down below.

Architect: Paul Rudolph
Location: Singapore
Project Year: 1980
Photographs: Cooney-Hughes, Roberto De Alba
References: Roberto De Alba

Cite: Sveiven, Megan. "AD Classics: The Colonnade Condominiums / Paul Rudolph" 19 Nov 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +2

    This is a great building, I have been there many many times and have been touched by it on each occasion. I have a few images if you would like to add them…

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Breath taking. Would love a walk around this place.

    Complexity with rigid underlying structure.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Beautiful building! Especially considering the decade it was built and the rubbish that would have been normally built at that time. Unfortunate that the pre-fab elements didn’t work out.
    Does remind me a bit of Habitat by Moshe Safdie, but it’s by no means a knock-off.
    Can you give us more detailed pics, AD?

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I like the rithm of this building, the volume rithm but also and windows. Nice proportion. But oneather thing that I really like are the drawings of thid project. I better love to see drawings than renderings, who in my opinion are to commercial.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down -2

    I don’t agree most of your opinions. first of all, there doesn’t seems to be bright in the each room. although SG is very hot which means the shadow is very important, it is still humid which means the room with sunlight will be the disaster!second point, the ugly facade doesn’t save energy in SG, this shape means much more concrete and much more aircon. and also this building give me feeling which is about no organized, grim, no-love and also ugly.

    • Thumb up Thumb down 0

      shaw, I think that more plans would help because they would show the outside living areas. This is ideal for the climate in Singapore because it provides shade and more openings in the facade…..which means less AC and more outdoor living :-)

  6. Thumb up Thumb down -7

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