Asia-Pacific News

This new urban jungle in Singapore could be the future of eco-friendly buildings

See inside one of Singapore's cutting-edge urban developments

Facebook and Prudential are among a number of multinational companies that have moved to a new Singapore office complex this year. But to call their new workspace an office would be an understatement.

Marina One, located in Singapore's central business district, is a mixed-use development project combining office, residential and commercial space, with restaurants, stores and gyms.

CNBC recently toured the development to learn how its eco-friendly design could be a model for future living.

Marina One's inside waterfall uses special non-splash technology
Ingenhoven Architects

The project is comprised of four towers, all connected by what's called the "green heart," an area filled with thousands of plants, trees and even a waterfall. There are also skybridges and terraces decked out in greenery, making for a total of 160,000 plants. In fact, the biodiversity throughout Marina One is equivalent to six Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to the developers.

The project certainly wasn't cheap, totally $5.1 billion, and was a joint venture between the investment arms of Malaysia and Singapore as part of a land-swap deal.

The architect is Christoph Ingenhoven, who was behind high-profile projects including Sydney's 1 Bligh Street and Luxembourg's European Investment Bank.

An aerial view of Marina One's 'heart center'
Ingenhoven Architects

The development is LEED Platinum-certified and designed and constructed in a manner that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, water and electricity consumption. The orientation of the building was designed to reduce heat gain and the glare of Singapore's scorching sun to help the offices stay cool. The greenery, meanwhile, helps reduce heat and improve air quality.

Marina One's two residential towers include more than 1,000 units. Living in one of Singapore's new towers isn't for those on a budget — a 1,152 square foot (107 square meter), two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is currently listed at around $2 million.