The Japanese construction and real estate firm announces the launch of its regional HQ and first overseas R&D and innovation hub, The GEAR, at Changi Business Park
On August 4, 2023, Kajima Development Pte Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, officially launched The GEAR: Kajima Lab for Global Engineering, Architecture & Real Estate, Kajima’s regional headquarters, and R&D and innovation hub. Located in Changi Business Park, the upper echelons of Kajima leadership had long been eyeing an anchor for this region. “We are extremely grateful for the warm welcome that Singapore has extended to us ever since our first project here in 1962. Almost ten years ago, the late Dr. Shoichi Kajima tasked us with a mission to establish our headquarters in Singapore – he admired Singapore’s blueprint for success and impeccable reputation as a business hub and gateway to the region. He thought there was no better place for us to deepen our roots in the region,” said Mr. Shuichi Oishi, Chief Executive Officer, Kajima Development.
Together with Kajima Overseas Asia Singapore, the local construction arm of Kajima, Kajima Development broke ground in August 2020 and completed the building on schedule notwithstanding the uncertainties occasioned by the pandemic and obtained TOP on March 31, 2023. Officiated by Minister Low Yen Ling, Minster of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry as the Guest of Honour, the Grand Opening Ceremony marked a momentous milestone that not only showcased the state-of-the-art facility that embodies Kajima’s commitment for a sustainable, connected and future-ready Singapore, but also the beginning of a new chapter in the firm’s history as Kajima’s first global R&D and innovation hub.
Designed by Kajima’s team of architects and engineers in Japan, The GEAR building stands as a testament to Kajima’s architectural prowess and commitment to excellence. The sleek and contemporary design seamlessly blends aesthetics with functionality, offering a dynamic and collaborative workspace for Kajima’s diverse teams and partner organisations. The GEAR houses all of Kajima’s local staff and will look at new ways to contribute to the local economy, create more employment opportunities, and nurture local talents.
Home to five state-of-the-art laboratories, The GEAR building will serve as a hub for Kajima’s groundbreaking research in sustainable construction materials, advanced building systems, occupant well-being, and smart technologies. Powered by the Kajima Technical Research Institute Singapore (KaTRIS), the strategic overseas R&D function of Kajima based in Singapore since 2013, this facility will accelerate the development and implementation of innovative solutions that address pressing global challenges, such as climate change and urbanisation. Its eighteen testbed zones are also installed with occupant behaviour monitoring sensors and indoor environment monitoring sensors to compare and verify new technologies and knowledge developed in the labs.
The GEAR’s innovation hub also aims to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among industry players, startups, researchers, and academics. For starters, Kajima has prioritized deepening relationships with both local and overseas universities to apply research to practice, and foster links with the next generation of talent.
The initial fruits of these nascent relationships were on display during the ceremony. For example, in-person attendees were greeted by a tethered drone watering the external greenery at the entrance of The GEAR. Developed in collaboration with researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design, the proof-of-concept provides a real-world application for drone technology which enhances productivity in facility management. Guests who attended the event were also gifted augmented reality (AR) postcards, which act as markers to display 3D models of The GEAR when viewed on a mobile application. Together with the Architecture, Representation and Computation Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Architecture, Kajima supported the development of the group’s current AR visualization platform by testing it in a real-world professional architectural production process by facilitating tests to evaluate the deployment pipeline and user experience of the tool.
Kajima’s collaborations with universities go beyond joint research. Having entered a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore Management University (SMU) in February 2023 with the intent to develop the built environment sector through supporting growth of startups and cultivating talent, The GEAR played host to a student conference co-organized by undergraduates of SMU the afternoon of the official launch. The agenda comprised a keynote by Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited, and a panel discussion which explored insights on sustainable innovations from the various players in the sector. By organizing more industry events, programmes, and workshops, Kajima hopes to act as a pillar to support stakeholders to enforce their commitment to sustainable smart city development and propel the sector towards a stronger culture of innovation. Through such initiatives, Kajima will connect ecosystem enablers with built environment corporations and startups in Singapore, Japan, and beyond, to encourage potential partnerships. The GEAR will be that hub to connect Singapore to the world.
Kajima is also collaborating with various stakeholders across the value chain – developers, builders, facilities management firms and researchers – to co-develop innovative solutions for the built environment. Building on the success of their MOU signed in 2019, JTC and Kajima are working towards extending their MOU, which will expire next year, for another five-year term. Potential areas of collaboration under the extended MoU will include the development and deployment of advanced construction solutions like robots, Integrated Digital Delivery and autonomous construction equipment, the implementation of carbon reduction technologies throughout the building lifecycle, and the promotion of start-up ecosystems. These collaboration efforts will make good use of facilities at The GEAR and take place within the five state-of-the-art laboratories, such as the Construction Robotics Lab and the Human Centric Design Lab.
“Singapore is a vibrant hub of innovation and growth, and we are excited to strengthen our presence in this dynamic market. Our goal is that The GEAR will serve as a centre of excellence and allow us to collaborate more closely with industry stakeholders to deliver solutions that meet the evolving needs of the region,” said Mr. Keisuke Koshijima, Executive Vice President, Kajima Corporation. “By combining our rich heritage and experience with frontier technologies, we aim to reshape the future through our base in Singapore,” he added.
The launch of The GEAR represents a pivotal moment with its innovative design, functional versatility, and unwavering commitment to sustainability, which Kajima hopes will positions it as a trailblazer in the regional built environment landscape. About Kajima Development Pte Ltd
Kajima Development Pte Ltd is a Singapore-based real estate developer with business interest across the Southeast Asia region. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kajima Corporation (鹿島建設株式会社, Kajima Kensetsu Kabushiki-gaisha) – one of the oldest and largest construction companies in Japan. Founded in 1840, the company has its headquarters in Motoaksaka, Minato, Tokyo. In the region, Kajima is also represented by Kajima Overseas Asia, which represents its construction business. Kajima's services include design, engineering, construction, and real estate development. Select construction projects include Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Financial Centre. Select development projects include Woodleigh Residences and Bishopsgate Residences.
About The GEAR: Kajima Lab for Global Engineering, Architecture & Real Estate Kajima’s brand-new regional headquarters, The GEAR, sits on a 5,232sqm plot at Changi Business Park. Kajima has invested S$100 million to develop the 6-storey building spanning 13,061.17sqm of GFA, to house approximately 250 of its local staff and will welcome the wider community of built environment innovators and disrupters to co-locate at its open innovation hub on level 3. The GEAR is equipped with 5 laboratories (namely, the Human Centric Design Lab, Construction Robotics Lab, Digital Tech Lab, Environmental Engineering Lab, and Underground Space Creation Lab) and is a living lab for experimentation, exploration, and co-creation. At The GEAR, Kajima will adopt open innovation, conduct R&D on advanced built environment technologies, and testbed solutions for productivity improvement, sustainability, and occupant wellness.