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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 26 Feb 2006

Cathay Building reopens as The Cathay Cineplex in March 2006


The Cathay¡­The World in Us Beckons

The Beginnings
On 18 July 1935, Associated Theatres Ltd was incorporated which marked the beginnings of Cathay¡¯s movie empire.
Founded by Dato Loke Wan Tho who met his premature demise in an aircrash in 1964. His legacy of the Cathay movie empire has endured for 70 years.
Cathay has entertained generations of Singaporeans, many of whom will remember the original Cathay Building which opened in October 1939.
The 1,300-seat Cathay Cinema screened its first movie, Sir Alexander Korda¡¯s The Four Feathers and was then the tallest structure and Singapore¡¯s first air-conditioned public building.
In 2000, the Cathay Building closed its doors for redevelopment.
The Revitalisation
Tange Associates, in association with RDC Architects Pte Ltd, was commissioned to conceptualise the architectural design for The Cathay. The focus was to construct a building encompassing retail facilities, including eight cinemas at the podium with a residential tower above.
As the Cathay Building has been gazetted as a heritage site, the design team had to incorporate conservation requirements that included retaining the original historical facade with the Art-Deco features, an external Shanghai plaster finish, canopy and cornices.
The front of the building when completed, will be clad with a 40-metre-high curved glass facade which is the key element of the building design. Termed ¡°Urban Skin¡± by Tange Associates, the structure serves as a clear, gentle partition between the interior and exterior of the building.
The glass facade and strategic lighting within will create a riveting image of the building being sheathed in luminescence, beckoning passers-by to enter and to experience The Cathay lifestyle. The translucent glow of the ¡°Urban Skin¡± also creates interplay between the white and grey of the old Cathay wall.
A public concourse through the preserved wall is further connected to a secondary plaza at Handy Road which serves as a second pedestrian entrance. The retail and food & beverage facilities are located from the basement up to the 4th level. The 8 cinema halls occupy the 5th, 6th and 7th levels.
The residential tower which comprises 76 units begins from the 9th level up to the 17th storey. A swimming pool, tennis court and garden are located at the 9th level landscaped deck.
The Essence
Set to re-open its doors in early 2006, The Cathay is more than a re-invention of an old icon. It is a whimsical reminiscent of the past and a dynamic, vibrant expression of the present and the future.
Not just a mall, The Cathay is a sanctuary for the inspired mind. It reaches out to the individual who knows who he is.
The Cathay personifies the interconnected world we live in and how we are, without barriers, part of an integrated whole. Inspiring the individual by being enticing, enthralling and entertaining, The Cathay is truly, The World in us.

Source: News 15 Sep 2005 (Excerpted)

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