China Square Central – Texlon® ETFE roof

  • Date
  • 2013
  • Location
  • Nankin Street, Singapur
  • Size
  • 3.518 m²
  • Sector
  • Retail
  • Structure
  • Steel
  • Application
  • Roofs
  • Architect
  • DP Architects Pte Ltd



Nankin Street is one of the early streets of Singapore, dating back to 1822. Almost 100 years later, this street rich with tradition has become a cultural hotspot, known for serving delightful late night meals. Nankin Street has since been transformed into a pedestrian mall that includes the famous China Square Central. China Square Central is home to many shops, restaurants, offices and residential buildings. While in the mid-20th century Nankin Street was infamous for its tiny shops partitioned into cubicles with no windows nor ventilation, this area is now covered by a Texlon® ETFE roof. This provides a pleasant experience for all those who come through Nankin Street, weather to enjoy some leisurely shopping, some fine dining, or even those who work and live in the area. The Texlon® ETFE roof provides plenty natural lighting, fresh air circulation and protection from any undesired weather.

But this very spot in Singapore has not always been the beautiful and spacious pedestrian mall it is today. More than 70 years ago, houses on Nankin Street were divided into many small, dank cubicles, with a family in each. In that time this area was one of the most densely populated in the world. A study from 1960 shows that there were 230,000 persons per square mile crowded into two-story and three-story shophouses in 1947. It is interesting to see the evolution of Nankin Street as a whole, and seeing the old shophouses turned into stores and restaurants.

Texlon® ETFE roof over a shopping street in Singapore

Singapore’s climate is characterized by two monsoon seasons, which often results in extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rainfall, strong winds and thunderstorms. Known for its ability to withstand demanding weather conditions, the installation of our Texlon® ETFE roof was the perfect solution for this project. The roof covers a substantial 3.518 m2. This gives people the opportunity to enjoy direct sunlight and natural lighting on a bright sunny day whilst also protecting them from the unfavorable conditions during the monsoon seasons.

Steel support structure for the roof

The Texlon® ETFE roof was installed on a steel structure, which forms a large rectangle. The aluminum profiles span the two-layered ETFE cushions, enabling the creation of various different support structures for the ETFE installations. The lightweight Texlon® ETFE cladding system ensures the space is flooded with natural lighting, whilst also providing a safe environment for customers. This particular support structure is made of steel, but there is also the possibility of similar support fixtures in materials such as concrete, cable and wood. 

The benefits of a Texlon® ETFE roof in extreme weather conditions

Even though ETFE is a lightweight and highly transparent material, it offers great protection under extreme weather conditions. Its strength and elasticity enable it to withstand storms, strong winds, and heavy snowfall. Moreover, ETFE foil’s naturally transparent material does not affect its abilities in weather protection either. ETFE is unaffected by UV light, atmospheric pollution and other forms of environmental weathering, which makes it an extremely durable material. Tests show that in the long run, material thickness, tensile strength, flexibility and transparency remain largely unaltered by extreme weather conditions, with the ETFE structures almost in their original conditions.

ETFE may not be as old as Nankin Street, but it has brought new life to this location and is durable enough to watch over it as Nankin Street continues to grow and transform in the next 100 years, too.