When it comes to conspicuous consumption, Singapore’s hoards of bespoke-suited millionaires are hard to top. Witness the demand for tall buildings packed with rooftop infinity pools and glassed-in “sky garages.”
Now an architect synonymous with that city’s luxury boom is making inroads in New York as well. SCDA Architects principal Soo Chan, 52, the most internationally successful architect to emerge from Singapore, is making a prodigious New York City push with four simultaneous projects.
In Singapore, Mr. Chan has made a name for himself as a detail-obsessed designer, meticulously managing every aspect of his projects from the façade down to the marketing brochures. But he is chiefly known for swimming pools.
Mr. Chan’s debut New York City project, Soori High Line, at 522 West 29th Street, will include 16 private heated pools, ranging in size from 23 to 26 feet long, 7 to 9 feet wide and 4 feet deep.
“At the very high end, luxury is universal,” Mr. Chan said. “Whether you are in Singapore or New York, luxury consumers want the same things.”
The opulence of such an amenity in a city where even shared pools are a rarity isn’t lost on Mr. Chan, whose Singapore-based firm Orie is co-developing the building with New York-based Siras. As the majority partner, Mr. Chan has a considerable amount of his own fortune invested in the 27-unit, 11-story project, where prices will range from $3.6 to $22 million.
Mr. Chan’s signature has become his interest in the intermediate spaces within a structure, such as lobbies, terraces, pools and entryways. He sees these spaces as being separated from the pressures of both public and private life, a kind of utopian middle ground where residents can find tranquility.
The High Line has already attracted many of architecture’s biggest names, such as Zaha Hadid, Neil Denari, Frank Gehry and Robert A.M. Stern. But Mr. Chan’s work stands apart as focusing less on creating an eye-catching exterior, and more on fashioning a lush lifestyle within the development.
The 135-foot Soori Highline will feature 12 condo units, with prices ranging from $2 to $25 million, and gallery retail space on the ground floor. The project recently broke ground, and when completed next fall, it will be the only Manhattan development to feature High Line views on two sides of the structure—the rail line cuts around the building, making an abrupt westward turn off of Tenth Avenue at West 29th Street.