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Facade - Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS)


Case study

The deep, dark depths of the ocean may seem a world away, but the new Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS) aims to change that by bringing the oceans to the lab.

A joint venture between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), TCOMS will house Singapore’s first national R&D centre for the marine and offshore engineering (M&OE) industry. Located at the Kent Ridge campus of NUS, the S$107 million TCOMS structure will open in 2019.

A key feature of the TCOMS is the state-of-the-art Deepwater Ocean Basin, a massive water containment facility that can simulate the harsh environment of deepwater oceans. The Deepwater Ocean Basin can hold a volume of water equal to over 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools and has a 50m deep centre pit.

Armed with smart sensing, modeling and data analytics capabilities, the next-generation Deepwater Ocean Basin is capable of reproducing the wave and current systems of ultra-deep waters. This would enable researchers to study the complex ocean state and understand the deep-sea challenges facing the M&OE industry.

Ultimately, this will help researchers to develop innovative solutions such as intelligent floating platforms, marine robotics and subsea systems to help the M&OE industry improve safety and enhance efficiency in the rough ocean waters.


Design and Green Mark Award

From afar, the building looks like a giant cruise ship docked in a port.

The building’s marine elements are at play with unique exterior features such as angular columns resembling wooden stilts, porthole-like windows, a curved roof resembling the shape of a wave and a grooved undulating façade.

Already, the TCOMS Deepwater Ocean Basin has won the Green Mark Award at the BCA Awards 2018 for its environmental sustainability.

The facility boasts a biophilic design, has the largest solar photovoltaic system in NUS and has also uses green concrete for its superstructure.

Key message

It was important that the materials used for the structure’s façade and other areas complied with new fire safety guidelines on the use of building products issued by the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF).

Due to the unique façade design of the TCOMS Deepwater Ocean Basin, the architects turned to Sto’s External Wall Insulation System (EWIS) in order to conform to the regulatory requirements and to also achieve the desired high standard of finish.

The EWIS by Sto had already obtained a certificate of conformity from the TÜV SÜD PSB testing body. This makes Sto one of the few players to have already met the stringent local external wall cladding standards and building safety regulations. It is also testament to our long commitment and investment in R&D to ensure our products and systems are of the highest quality and are able to meet worldwide building standards.

Product used

Sto’s EWIS brings together various components including the external wall, bonding, insulation, mesh, reinforcing compound and top coat.

For this project, the StoTherm Classic EWIS system was chosen because it offered the unique value proposition of being able to clad the envelope without compromising on aesthetics. The system was applied to an area of 1,400m².

The all-round StoTherm Classic system was used for the external side wall and angled columns. Using EPS boards rendered with StoSignature, this external wall insulation system offers great durability, resistance to cracks, enhanced weather protection and maximum shock resistance.

For textured façade renders, StoSignature provides a sophisticated system of material combinations and techniques. It offers up to 800 colours and weather-resistant synthetic renders with a wide variety of textures, from rustic elements to ceramic tiles of various designs, as well as natural stone surfaces.


Architect design

This flexibility of material choices was perfectly suited for creating the wave-like features and grooves on the façade of the TCOMS Deepwater Ocean Basin. The angled columns were also cladded in appropriate material to create the woody appearance envisioned by the architects.

Sto worked closely with the applicator in the design and also conducted training in the application of the wood design texture. Following the first contact with the applicator in August 2016, training was conducted at Sto’s Singapore headquarters before a mock-up was done on-site prior to installation.

The StoColor Tropiclean Solar paint was specially selected as a finish as it is suitable for tropical climates. Specially formulated to minimise building façade degradation, it is able to withstand heat, rain, humidity, algae, air pollution and dust. The coating also keeps the façade cleaner for far longer and effectively lowers the building’s surface temperature.

To produce a wood glaze effect on the angled columns, a special glaze technique with StoColor Sil and StoColor Sil Lasura was used . The creative top- coat, was able to give the façade a brilliant, clear-colour sheen while retaining a high-quality natural appearance.


The beauty of the StoTherm Classic EWIS is that it comes in a wide range of texture finishes and is suited to various architectural elements. Overall, the simple installation process, easy application and versatile design scope were well-suited for the façade design of the TCOMS Deepwater Ocean Basin.

StoTherm Classic enables architects to achieve greater flexibility in building design. As the high-performance components are able to meet international standards, architects and designers can meet building regulatory requirements without compromising on creative freedom in their projects.