THE Ministry of Law (MinLaw) yesterday unveiled a S$25 million refurbishment plan that will restore the heritage of the Red Dot Traffic building at 28 Maxwell Road.
Last month, MinLaw announced that it would be taking over the conserved building for the expansion of Maxwell Chambers, one of the top five international arbitration centres in the world. The building will add 120,000 square feet of space to Maxwell Chambers and triple its current size.
The building at 28 Maxwell Road was the Traffic Police Headquarters from the 1930s to 1999. At one point, it housed Singapore’s first driving test centre.
Under the refurbishment plan led by award-winning architect Mok Wei Wei and heritage conservation expert Ho Weng Hin, the walls of the Red Dot Traffic building facade will be restored to an off-white colour – similar to the neutral tones used on the building in the past.
Five lush courtyards within the building, which is situated next to Maxwell Chambers, will be landscaped and restored to their original open-sky design.
Timbre louver windows, inner-leaf facade elements and cast-iron rainwater downpipes that had been removed or damaged will be restored and repaired. In addition, the building will be beautifully lit at night.
To accommodate the expansion of Maxwell Chambers, a new annex block will be added to provide 3,230 square feet of office space. Corridors will be widened and a link bridge constructed between 28 Maxwell Road and Maxwell Chambers’ current premises.
Works are expected to begin in May this year and complete by 2019. MinLaw will be calling a tender for construction services this month.
Yesterday also saw the launch of Heritage@Maxwell, an initiative to share the building’s past with Singaporeans.
The project involves students from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) developing platforms to connect with young Singaporeans, among other efforts.
“Heritage evokes a sense of place and gives a place character,” deputy secretary of MinLaw Han Kok Juan told The Business Times.
“It will help Maxwell Chambers distinguish itself from other office blocks as well as similar facilities elsewhere in the world,” said Mr Han, who chairs the Project Steering Committee.
The new building will have 50 offices for international dispute resolution institutions, arbitration chambers, law firms and ancillary legal services. The existing building will house hearing and preparation rooms.
Mr Han revealed that there is a waitlist of interested tenants looking to establish a presence in Singapore and Asia. The expansion of Maxwell Chambers will accommodate them, as well as allow current tenants such as the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to expand their operations.
“[Boosting] Singapore’s position as an international dispute resolution centre will help create growth and generate jobs for Singaporeans in dispute resolution work,” said Mr Han.
Office rental rates will be set nearer to the refurbishment’s completion in 2019.