Singapore is well known for its multicultural spirit and universal appeal to travelers--and great shopping. Mustafa Center, a multilevel shopping center, offers an intense, 24-hour-a-day shopping experience, with its myriad of interesting shops that attract more than 15,000 customers of many nationalities every weekend. Mustafa Center offers everything from fine fabrics to electronic devices to jewels. Its restaurants, too, offer a wide selection of cuisine. Crowning it all is a Geometrica dome.
Geometrica's glass and stainless steel structure serves as the eye-catching roof for the restaurant on the top floor of the shopping center, where diners can choose from among a host of offerings while they watch the ever-evolving city come alive as the sun goes down. This structure, similar to the Museo del Niño (Children's Museum) in Puerto Rico and the Hyatt Hotel in Cancun, Mexico, exemplifies the combined beauty of metal and glass, magnifying its surroundings in a collage of colors and shapes.
SG Bogen, charged with designing the dome for the Mustafa Center, sought a pleasant, light-filled structure. Geometrica's senior engineers, most with more than a decade of experience, made the most of our design software to answer that desire. They created an esthetically pleasing structure in a single-layer pattern of crisscrossing spirals.
Geometrica's exclusive GL skylight-support purlin ensures drainage of any infiltrating moisture, including dew condensation inside the dome skin. Glued to a double layer of glass, it fastens to the structural tubes beneath. A continuous flexible gutter drains away any water. The external finish is clean and flush. The interior displays the stainless-steel lamella spirals that create the intended dining atmosphere.
With ISO- and OHSAS-certified systems, Geometrica's design was submitted by SG Bogen to the Singaporean Building and Construction Authority. The BCA's Building Engineering Division is well known for its strict standards. The design complied with all requirements and earned the BCA's approval and SG Bogen's release for fabrication. A few weeks later production was finished at Geometrica's plant in Mexico, and the dome was then packaged and shipped in standard containers. Each piece of the dome was labeled individually and in numbered crates enabling the local crews to assemble the "puzzle" in a simple and efficient manner.
The dome required 8 tons of tubes, in lengths from 1 to 2.2 meters. To tie together the tubes, we used 300 kg of aluminum hubs. The glass supports (purlins) weighed 4.5 tons and support 720 m2 of glass.
Installed in 10 days by five people
The installation crew consisted of five employees and two site consultants. In just 10 days, this team completely assembled the entire stainless-steel structure.
First, they conducted a survey to ensure that the bottom beam was positioned correctly. As the crew opened each crate, in order, they retrieved and assembled tubes and hubs on the floor, forming a "spider" that was raised and installed. They assembled a succession of progressively smaller spiders and installed them, bottom to top, until the structure was closed. Once the structure was complete, our crew anchored it to the floor. Then came the installation of the glass that covers the beautiful structure.
The glass must remain clean to maintain the illusion of looking upward through a clear sky. Therefore, an exterior ladder for the use of maintenance workers crosses the entire structure from one side, up to the apex. The ladder is supported on a rail that allows it to rotate around the dome, enabling workers to clean and maintain the entire structure.
Heavy air-cooling equipment would interfere with the desired look of the facade, so ventilation coolers were located strategically. The bottom of the dome is free of glass, allowing air to circulate from below.
An outstanding architectural accent
The teams at SG Bogen and Geometrica worked together to design an outstanding architectural accent for the whole Mustafa complex. Stainless steel is indeed unusual for structural systems, and the sight takes one's breath away.
The full architectural intent was met by artful combination of the building materials. The challenge was answered, with the final design worthy of Singapore's premier shopping destination.