Robert Whitlock’s role as designer of high-rise towers, mixed-use developments and large-scale master plans has been as much about enhancing the urban experience as about shaping individual buildings. Since beginning professional practice over 30 years ago, he has focused on density, public space, programmatic integration, supertall building, and the influences of these elements on the quality and sustainability of the “global city.”
Rob's design for the densely clustered Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore has become an oft-cited model for urban development. The complex, which comprises a mixture of office, retail, and residential space around a spacious community park, has been honored with the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Award (2012) and the MIPIM Asia Award in the Best Mixed-Use Buildings Category (2011).
A long-time proponent of vertical density as a sustainable solution to the problems posed by the world’s burgeoning population, Rob was also responsible for the design of Hysan Place, the first LEED Platinum building in Hong Kong. Located in one of the most compressed neighborhoods in the city, Hysan Place provides a vibrant mix of retail and office spaces in a structure that opens itself to the environment. The massing of the tower is developed as a series of shifting forms, each designed to optimize the internal planning of the use housed within. These forms are configured to generate vertical gardens over the height of the building, providing multi-story rooftop oases for users and openings for prevailing breezes to pass through the building and improve the air quality of the surrounding neighborhood.
Other high-rise projects designed by Rob include Wheelock Square, the tallest building in the Puxi district of Shanghai and the recipient of the MIPIM Asia Business Centres Award in 2011, as well as the AZIA Center and CSCEC Tower, both in the Pudong District, China’s financial and commercial hub. Also on the mainland, Rob designed the Suzhou International Finance Center, a 450-meter building for Wharf Holdings and the Chongqing International Trade and Commerce Center, a 475-meter tower for Shui On Land. Both projects, whose forms are inspired by cultural and contextual precedents, are centerpieces of new districts, providing a synergy of uses to bring activity and value to their respective sites. The towers are complemented by low-rise structures, podiums and plazas, creating an equally vibrant experience at the pedestrian scale.
Other notable projects include BSD City, Jakarta’s largest exurban development, and the award-winning Singapore Exchange Center (SGX Center), which has received three awards, including a Gold Medal from the Singapore Institute of Architects Micro Design Awards for its podium feature wall.
In the United States, Rob oversaw the award-winning design of the Espirito Santo Plaza in Miami. Espirito Santo Plaza, which houses bank headquarters, hotel and residential components, was the recipient of a Design Award from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Rob has been an active member of the AIA for more than 20 years and is frequently asked to serve as a guest lecturer and presenter. Or particular note, he participated in the Architectural Record Design Roulette in Singapore (2011), the Green Building Conference in Singapore (2011), and the Ultra High Rise Building Conference in Shanghai (2011), and the Smart Geometry Conference in New York City (2008).