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Surbana Jurong acquires two architectural firms

SURBANA Jurong is acquiring two major architectural firms, Canadian firm B+H and Singapore firm SAA Architects, in a move that boosts its ability to take on ambitious projects, particularly in sectors such as healthcare and hospitality.

Previous moves focused on building up capabilities in infrastructure, one of its three main business areas alongside urban and managed services, group chief executive officer Wong Heang Fine told The Business Times. “This time round, we want to further deepen our urban (capabilities), to bring up our urban revenue.”

The group’s urban capabilities include architecture, civil structure, mechanical and electrical systems (M&E), quantity surveying, and project management. On the architecture front, Surbana Jurong has experience in townships, particularly with its long history of public housing in Singapore. The company now wants to deepen its capabilities in other types of projects, including healthcare, offices, condominiums and mixed-use developments.

B+H has notable strengths in hospitality and healthcare, extending to interior design for such projects – two specialised sectors and one architectural area, respectively, that Surbana Jurong intends to explore further. SAA has capabilities in both healthcare and transport, with work done on Singapore’s MRT lines as well as Changi Airport’s Terminal 4.

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Apart from these specific capabilities, both firms are valuable additions to the group due to their ambitious creative style, said Mr Wong: “They’re pushing the envelope. They’re pushing the design to the extreme, and that’s what we want to do.”

Surbana Jurong has also formed a collaboration with Hong Kong-based Rocco Design Architects. Some of its architects will be mentored by Rocco, while Surbana Jurong supports some of Rocco’s design work. Says Mr Wong: “To us, it’s really about giving the opportunity to our young architects, and having the opportunity for our people to learn from these great designers.”

Mr Wong said that the two new acquisitions are more about talent than revenue contribution. But they also bring greater market access. In particular, B+H gives access to North America – where Surbana Jurong has yet to do any projects – as well as major technology firms which are its clients. SAA is strong in Singapore, Malaysia, and China, with offices across South-east Asia.