Insider Tour

Condo Reviews Martin Modern Review: Unconventional Architecture In A Garden Oasis

  • January 29, 2022
  • 35 min read
martin modern condo main pool

Our Verdict

84%

Overall Rating
Martin Modern’s tropical brutalist design makes this an eye-catching development even from afar. It breaks the perception that a luxury development needs to be all glitz and gold. Martin Modern’s emphasis on greenery means that some 200 species of plants and 50 species of trees will make an appearance here. With 80% of the space dedicated to landscaping, you can be sure of that expansive feeling even in the midst of the city, a rare advantage not to be taken for granted.

Our Considerations

Unit Efficiency 4/5

Squarish and conventional layouts with some having slightly longer corridors

Unit Size 4/5

Well sized for District 9 and enhanced by 3.2m ceilings

Quality of Fittings 4.5/5

Branded appliances as expected with marble and natural timber floors and ducted air conditioning

Design 4.5/5

Unconventional luxury inspired by godowns of the yesteryear

Variety of Facilities 4/5

Decent provisions for 450 units

Quality of Facilities 4.5/5

Well maintained and good quality

Surrounding Amenities 4.5/5

Robertson Quay – need I say more?

Developer 4.5/5

One of the most recognisable in Singapore

Transport Links 4/5

5 mins to Great World MRT

Driving Accessibility 4/5

Close to Orchard, CBD, and MBS

Price Point 3.5/5

Fairly priced despite a significant increase since launch

Reviewed by Matt K. on January 29, 2022

What we like
  • Unique design
  • Garden setting
  • Lovely lap pool
What we don't like
  • Rooftop garden could be utilised better
  • Premium units have good views but are west facing
Project: Martin Modern
District: 09
Address: 8 & 10 Martin Road
Tenure: 99-year Leasehold
No. of Units: 450
Site Area: 171,535 sqft
Developer: GuocoLand
TOP: 2021

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. You may not believe how much Martin Modern, a District 9 CCR development, was priced at just 4+ years ago during its launch in July 2017. Back then, prices ranged from $2,009 to $2,500 psf, which frankly looks like a steal today given how much prices have risen since. To give you some idea, the psf here reached a high of $3,335 psf in June 2021, just 4 years on.

To be fair, it was a different world back then. Prices were on a downward trend following the 2013 peak and bottomed out in Q2 2017 following a 12% decline in the Private Residential Property Price Index. So yes, contrary to popular belief, the Singapore property market was not always on an uptrend. In retrospect, you could say that the time of Martin Modern’s launch would have been a great time to buy. It’s the classic buy when no one else is buying mantra, which sounds easy but surprisingly hard to follow. Unsurprisingly, astute buyers who did, by financing modelling, a stroke of luck or otherwise, would likely be sitting on pretty decent paper gains now. This includes launches of a similar vintage, including Seaside Residences which we reviewed in August 2021, Grandeur Park Residences, ARTRA, and The Clement Canopy

90 units (22%) were sold during Martin Modern’s launch weekend, which is hardly as spectacular as new CCR launches these days – think Canninghill Piers at 77% and Jervois Mansion at 98%. Nevertheless, momentum soon picked up as buyers started to see value in this District 9 development, which offers some pretty unique features compared to its peers. 

So let’s check this newly TOP-ed development out to see why buyers are paying top dollar for Martin Modern!

Martin Modern Insider Tour

martin modern condo building

In my reviews, I enjoy highlighting the architectural influences of the development. Personally, understanding the inspirations is an interesting and overlooked part of the buying process. For Martin Modern, the architecture is unconventional to say the least, although I am inclined to say that this sets it apart from its peers in a very positive way. 

Award-winning architect Yip Yuen Hong is a prominent figure in the landed property segment, with a design philosophy that embraces the rawness of the natural materials, reimagining them to be modern kampung houses. In the same way, Yip has taken this to a grander and more prominent level with Martin Modern, which is his first collaboration with Guocoland. He draws inspiration from the ‘textures and feel of the old godowns’ that once dotted the Robertson Quay area with many of the external and feature walls crafted from off-form concrete. The rugged and oddly textured surfaces are unconventional but are also what gives Martin Modern a distinctive character. 

Continuing in the same vein of his tropical brutalist design, Martin Modern aspires to create a botanical garden in the city, paying tribute to the old nutmeg plantations that once stood near Robertson Quay. By incorporating 15 curated gardens with more than 200 species of plants across the development, Yip has softened the rawness of his materials with soothing greenery. 

midtown modern rooftop facilities
Midtown Modern design

Moreover, this botanical garden is not merely an aspiration – Guocoland has dedicated 80% of the site to landscaping, a rare feat on an expensive land plot, making Martin Modern part of the exclusive club that includes fellow Guocoland developments Goodwood Residence and Leedon Residence. For me, it’s very close in look to Midtown Modern – which is unsurprisingly designed by the very same person. So for those on the fence on Midtown Modern, it could be worth making a trip here to see it for yourself.

Now that we have established how promising Martin Modern might be, let’s head straight to the actual site to see if it lives up to its hype.

martin modern condo entrance 4

Right from the onset, you will notice how unique Martin Modern’s signboard is. It’s in a rugged-looking copper finish, which looks like it already has some years of use before this. I meant it positively though as I expect it to require less upkeep and age more gracefully over the years as the patina starts to show.

martin modern condo entrance 5

There are 2 lanes of ingress – 1 for visitors and 1 for residents, so that will help to ease up some congestion during peak hours. 24-hour security guards will be on hand to keep trespassers at bay so residents will have peace of mind throughout the day (and night). I’m not sure if security is extra tight now, but I did notice some congestion as the line of visitors would stick out and block the traffic along Muthuraman Chetty Road.

martin modern condo waiting area 1

As you drive into the development, you might notice that there was a concerted effort to create a heightened sense of arrival, with a long driveway that hides away the arrival court and underground car park. Along the way, you will get past the pneumatic refuse room and substation, which are cleverly sited away from the rest of the development. While absolutely crucial, these are not quite the views any resident would be looking forward to anyway so I’m glad that they have placed it at a corner of the development.  

martin modern condo waiting area

While the driveway here at Martin Modern isn’t quite as elaborate as the ones at Perfect Ten and Goodwood Residence, it does still give the arrival court a little more intrigue. The arrival doesn’t disappoint with plants and trees a focus for the roundabout here, which is rather spacious for 450 units and has enough width for 2 cars side by side.

Of course, it is sheltered too but you may notice that there are actually no seats here for you to wait for your ride. Weird you may think, but that’s likely because you have an airconditioned reception lounge hidden just beside for you to wait in more comfortable settings. 

martin modern condo entrance

Due to the irregular terrain of the site, the reception lounge will be in the basement while you will have to scale the flight of stairs to get to the development blocks themselves. Before I go there, let’s head to the car park, which has more unconventional textured concrete as you drive in. 

martin modern condo carpark 3

It’s an underground car park with 450 lots – 1 for each unit, which by the way, is getting increasingly uncommon these days even for luxury developments. Each time I visited Martin Modern, the car park has never been full, but it is still early days and not everyone has moved in yet – so I can’t yet conclusively conclude that you should have no issue with car park space here.

martin modern condo carpark

As you might expect, it’s well finished in epoxy flooring, giving it a more luxurious feel. I’m happy to say that Guocoland has certainly spared no expense in getting this space well lit too so you avoid the dingy feel you get in some older developments. As with other District 9 developments, don’t be surprised if you see some fancy cars here, as evidenced by that turquoise BMW i8 here.

martin modern condo lobby

In the car park, there is the Main Lobby drop-off that leads you to the reception lounge. Besides leading you to the arrival roundabout mentioned earlier, the lounge also houses the concierge to meet your everyday needs. Even if you didn’t think a concierge was important, it’s a helpful resource that you never know when you might need to call upon.

martin modern condo lobby 1

As there are just 2 towers in Martin Modern, you would definitely not miss the individual lobbies leading to the residential units. Congruent with the rest of the development, the vibe here is one of a hip, modern luxury hotel lobby, air-conditioned with pops of colour in the form of the orange sofa, juxtaposed with the dark overall theme and cobbled floor. It’s pretty sleek I must say, and in line with the modern sophisticated clientele, Martin Modern is likely to attract.

martin modern condo lift lobby 1

For the non-premium units, there are 3 common lifts to serve between 5 to 6 units on each floor, depending on the stack. And with 30 storey towers, I do expect some wait during the peak hours. 

martin modern condo lobby entrance 1

For 3 Bedroom Premium and 4 Bedroom units, however, they get a private lift lobby instead, and this can be found via another door requiring security card access. Exclusivity is key for the select residents here. 

martin modern condo entrance open

As we head back to the arrival point on the first floor, you will notice that there is a flight of stairs leading to the rest of Martin Modern. This provides a heightened sense of anticipation as you wonder what awaits you. 

martin modern condo open area 1

The overall theme of Martin Modern is one of a botanical setting in the city and the first thing that greets you is the extensive party lawn that gives you the perception of space. With an 80/20 landscape to residential tower ratio, it is no wonder that you should expect to feel more at home right here. This lawn sure looks of great length for the kids to practice their sprinting skills. Factually speaking, the party lawn here is said to be almost 4,000 sqft (345 sqm). 

martin modern condo stairs 1

It’s rare to get such open spaces in the prime areas, so I’m glad to see that they’ve placed such high priority here.

martin modern condo bbq pavilion

The first of the 2 BBQ pavilions will also be found right by the corner as you scale the steps from the arrival court. Since Martin Modern TOP-ed during COVID, it’s no wonder that these dining facilities look brand new and untouched. Let’s hope the good maintenance continues even after things return to normal.

martin modern condo water feature

As you stroll along the pavement beside the lawn, the water features that line the path helps to give off a more relaxing vibe as you make your way home. There’s just something about water features that make the environment a more soothing one. As Martin Modern is on irregular terrain, you will notice that there are several flights of stairs to scale as you go about the different facilities.

martin modern condo open terrace 2

Right at the tail end of the party lawn, is where you will locate the second BBQ pavilion by the corner. Before that, there are some outdoor furniture pieces that allow residents to sit around by the well-maintained lawn and give off quite a resort feel.

martin modern condo dining 1

There’s only that long couch that is shielded from the sun, while it was unsurprising that the tables were unoccupied when we visited – the sun was scorching hot so unless you were in serious need of Vitamin D, those seats are probably best left for the evening or a cooler day. 

The Club Lounge and Dining Lounge is located just behind. It’s decked out in that same black over-the-top marble slabs all around and I totally get that it’s all part of being in a luxury development. Frankly though, I very much prefer the understatedness of the rest of Martin Modern and wished that they had gone with something more subtle instead.

martin modern condo dining area

I like how both BBQ pavilions lookout to a good amount of greenery, in the form of the lawn for the first and the upper rain garden for the second. We don’t have a photo for this, but the developers were committed enough to actually include a write-up for the rain garden. It explains that the rain garden is a part of the stormwater management strategy to treat, retain, harvest rainwater, and help to beautify the biodiversity of the landscape. In short, the 15 gardens are not only there for aesthetics but have a positive environmental impact too.

martin modern condo open terrace 1

As for the BBQ pits, I prefer the one here over the one closer to the arrival court for being in a slightly more exclusive part of the development. That said, it may not actually be the case during the festive seasons, as the one here is located just beside the dining lounge. The dining lounge is an air-conditioned space that is about 450 sqft fitted with a long table and a sofa couch by the side. As expected from a luxury development, the space is decked out in large marble-like slabs (they might actually be marble) so you can be sure that your guests would be equally impressed. If you are able to secure the outdoor space too, you should be able to accommodate a rather large crowd of up to 40 pax.

Now let’s take a walk along the boundaries of Martin Modern, continuing the path from the dining lounge.

martin modern condo fitness station 1

You are brought to the start of the ‘sporty’ zone, starting first with the fitness court. It’s a modern-looking structure that stands out both for its colour and materials in the midst of all the ruggedness around Martin Modern. The structure combines the playfulness of monkey bars with the practicality of other static exercises you can do, including pull-ups and dips. For those training for their annual IPPT, you would be happy to know that this is just 1 of 2 fitness courts in the development. 

martin modern condo tennis court

Moving on, you will see the entrance to the sole tennis court in Martin Modern. Given the irregular terrain, there is a natural ‘sunkenness’ to the tennis court, and noise pollution should not be an issue as the residential blocks are rather far away. Those in touch with the market will know that tennis courts are a rarity these days and even developments with more than 1,000 units have a maximum of 1 court. It does make you wonder about the great lengths residents will need to go to book a slot. In short, the one here is certainly a premium feature in today’s market. 

martin modern condo path 3

The path towards the residential blocks, lap pool and other facilities will take you up the stairs through the bamboo grove. I like how there are different gardens around Martin Modern, which keeps things interesting as you make your way around.

martin modern condo bamboo grove

From all angles, the one here really does not feel like Singapore as you are shrouded in a row of bamboo trees. 

martin modern condo maze

It’s garden after garden here at Martin Modern. After navigating the bamboo grove, you will be at the Maze, which is just as its name suggests, is one made of shrubs and bushes.

martin modern condo maze 1

While it helps to enhance the overall greenery of the development, it is rather small and if you needed the top class example of what a maze should look like – check out the one at Ritz Carlton Residences at Cairnhill – the one that is truly exceptional. I can’t attest to how useful it is, but it certainly is a looker.

martin modern condo playground

As we circle the development further, at the North-East end of the site is where you will find the kids play areas – but just have a look at the path leading to it. I can’t help but repeat myself – the concept of having a botanical garden within Martin Modern was not only an aspiration the developers put on paper but one that they have executed well too.

martin modern condo forest pavilion

The kids’ play area comprises the forest play area, which has a sheltered forest pavilion accompanying it. This means that parents or helpers bringing the children here will have shelter for some respite – we know you can’t keep up with their energy that never seems to abate.

martin modern condo pavilion

So for those with young kids, there are comfortable looking couches and fans are to be found here. 

martin modern condo playground 3

The forest play area itself is pretty decent for a condo of this size, with a slide and nettings that will allow the kids to dart around safely. There are also a couple of rocking horses which is an ever-present feature in most playgrounds. I expect there to be a number of families in Martin Modern, given the absence of 1 Bedroom units so this would certainly be a welcome move for residents. 

martin modern condo playground 2

While I can’t quite speak on behalf of the kids, but I do really like the look of this play area. Instead of the usual rainbow coloured playground, this is definitely much more muted, and in keeping with the overall look and vibe of Martin Modern. I would also venture so far to say that while they have included this sizeable play area, this probably wouldn’t be the top of mind for most families with young kids – the lack of a proper kids pool, the multitude of stairs makes this not the most appealing place for young children, and perhaps the elderly too.

The other fitness corner in Martin Modern is also situated around here so if you prefer to practice some pull-ups while your kids play along, that is certainly possible too. Just so that everyone is following where we are exactly on the site map, we are just around Tower 8 and are going to make our way to the 50m lap pool.

martin modern condo open field 2

On my way there, you go past the Garden Court and Garden Spring.

martin modern condo open

I mean really, the sheer amount of prime land dedicated to landscaping or the lack of buildings in 2021 is truly respectable. I love that you have this amount of space in District 9, a rarity even in mass-market condos. I don’t see much of a functional purpose to these spaces but more of just allowing residents to feel less claustrophobic at home.

martin modern condo design

At this point, let’s take some time to appreciate how industrial and raw the overall facade of the residential towers are. ipli Architects have really gone all out to make Martin Modern’s definition of luxury unconventional – with plenty of its external walls created from off-form concrete. The rugged, oddly textured exterior gets its inspiration from the old godowns that used to dominate the Robertson Quay precinct, creating a truly rustic aesthetic in the midst of lush gardens. Even the towers have that burnished look, with corrugated precast panels dominating the facade.

martin modern condo stairs

As I have highlighted earlier, Martin Modern sits on an irregular, undulating site. Whilst usually an architectural headache, ipli and Guocoland have clearly worked this to their favour, transforming the site into 3 levels of garden terraces.

martin modern condo swimming pool

We are finally at the 50m swimming pool of the development and you can already tell that this is a pretty looking pool. You get the resort-esque feels and every day will feel like a holiday when you are doing laps here, or just lounging by the pool

martin modern condo main pool

The width of the pool is 10m, which means you can fit 4 to 5 people swimming laps concurrently. I have certainly seen my fair share of amazing condo pools and the one here certainly is up there with them. 

martin modern condo poolside umbrellas

As expected, you also have pool decks all around the pool if you prefer having a lazy afternoon. You deserve a break from work and exercise, right? I like that they catered for parasols that will help shield you from the scorching Singapore sun. As much as we think it’s a given, there are a number of projects which don’t actually have this. 

martin modern condo lounge seating
martin modern condo pool lounges

I did half-expect to see some poolside cabanas here too though, perhaps that didn’t make the cut in terms of a design choice.

martin modern condo poolside
martin modern condo kids pool

What about the kids, you may ask. There is a dipping pool beside the lap pool, which in my mind, would be the kid’s pool of Martin Modern. I must admit that because of the overall mature, rustic look, the dipping pool might not look too appealing to kids.

martin modern condo kids pool 1

Nevertheless, if your kids are still intrigued by it, there are some sheltered seating close by so you could watch them have fun and not exhaust too much of your energy. As mentioned earlier, this is definitely not the most visually appealing condo for young children – which is certainly not a bad thing. I do appreciate that everything is kept in keeping with that dark sultry look.

martin modern condo jacuzzi

Close to the kids’ pool is the jacuzzi, a more private spot to soak whilst enjoying the plentiful greenery right in front of you. 

martin modern condo gym

Well, if indoors is your thing and you should want to burn some calories, you would of course have the gym just beside. It fronts the tennis court, which appears to be sunken but that is more a function of the irregular terrain rather than a conscious effort.

martin modern condo gym 1

It’s a decently sized gym for 450 units, with 4 treadmills, a couple of stationary bikes, and a multi-purpose weights machine. While it was empty in this photo, it was rather crowded when I visited again on a weekday sometime in January 2022 so that would be a more realistic scene you should expect. It’s about par for the course as far as gyms are concerned, but nothing noteworthy to see here.

martin modern condo pond

There are also various facilities around, of which I’d just give a brief mention to. Above is the bio pond, which is right next to the Garden Court and Spring.

martin modern condo aquatic garden

Beyond that is an Aquatic Garden.

martin modern condo open grounds

It’s hardly the most visually stimulating spot, but it does add to the ambience of the space.

martin modern condo ground unit

Round the back of the development near Block 10, the gardens and abundance of greenery continue. For ground floor units, the plentiful greens provide a nice segue from their patio to the shared facilities and I can see why this can be really appealing, especially in a beautiful development such as Martin Modern. 

martin modern condo ground unit 1

The ground floor unit will naturally have direct access to the walkway, and along with that the added benefit of higher ceilings.

martin modern secret garden

That’s about it for the facilities on the first few floors and of course, that’s not the end. There are still facilities on the rooftops of both towers, which is nice because it means that it is not exclusive to a particular block to residents. Both roof gardens have similar facilities, including a dining pavilion, reading pavilion and secret garden. 

The residential lobbies require key card access so this is a plus point from the overall security perspective. Additionally, there is also easy wheelchair access for those with mobility issues although this is increasingly mandatory these days. Nevertheless, it is still appreciated that we are making strides towards building a more inclusive society. 

Martin Modern Tower 8 West View

I’ll start with the roof garden atop Tower 8. This is generally East and West facing, which means that units here will also get either the morning or afternoon sun. For the West facing units, you get panoramic views of the Singapore River on the higher floors, as River Valley Primary is a low-rise building. 

The views are likely to remain for as long as the primary school continues to be there. On the other hand, the East facing will have views of Fort Canning Park in the distance, although your views are blocked by the neighbouring Oleanas Residence. I would say that the West facing views are generally considered to be better of the two, notwithstanding the dreadful afternoon sun. 

martin modern view
martin modern view 4

As for Tower 10, you get a more desirable general North / South facing, more or less avoiding the sun for most parts of the day. Whether the views are as pretty is debatable – to me, it is quite attractive, especially when I get to avoid the sun. Instead of river views, you get more city views from the roof garden here. You will comfortably clear all the neighbouring buildings from the 30th-floor roof garden here so you will truly get unblocked views stretching all the way to the CBD in the distance. 

If you work in the CBD, you will certainly be able to recognise the landmarks such as Marina Bay Sands, UOB Plaza and Guoco Tower. Not too shabby either way huh. 

martin modern garden 4

The Roof Garden is generally quite surprisingly sizeable. You do have lots of nook and crannies to move about, and can be a nice respite should you just want some alone time.

martin modern garden
martin modern dining

There are also sheltered dining pavilions here, so you do have a wide variety of different dining spots at Martin Modern. It’s not really positioned such that you’d get the best view though, you’d be better off walking out further for that.

martin modern garden 7

And while the views of Singapore are pretty nice from such a high vantage point, I personally do think more utility could have been given particularly as the space is quite sizeable. Perhaps one tower could have contained a garden such as this, while the other could have been the more “practical” one.

martin modern condo design 1

In summary, I am really enjoying the refreshing concept of luxury displayed here at Martin Modern. It has proven that you don’t have to be loud and have everything embossed in gold to make a statement. Many a time, especially in 2022, the more low-key and understated you are, the more people are interested in knowing more about you. 

Martin Modern embraces the rawness of materials and its off-form concrete feature walls and corrugated dyed, precast panels on the towers definitely makes it stand out among the sea of condos that surround it. The facilities are also generous for its site and very well executed, and set amidst a botanical garden that provides a sanctuary in the midst of the city. 

Read this next canninghill piers review 1

Martin Modern Location Review

Martin Modern is situated in the Robertson Quay precinct and ironic as it may be, appeals to those who prefer a little more peace and tranquillity in the area. 

Let me explain. We all know Robertson Quay as the hip district popular for its cafes, bars and after-work entertainment by the Singapore River. Many condos such as Rivergate, River Place and the upcoming Riviere have these amenities at their doorstep. Martin Modern offers you the ability to enjoy that lifestyle (3 mins walk) while not necessarily being in the hustle and bustle of it all. 

Instead, it’s located in a quieter area off Kim Yam Road/Martin Road with some popular joints such as Common Man Coffee Roasters, PS.Cafe and Jypsy just a 1-minute walk away. 

great world city

Convenience is also a given here, with the upcoming Great World MRT providing you with fantastic connectivity to Orchard and the rest of Singapore. Via Kim Seng Park, this walk should take you about 5 minutes. The revamped Great World City mall also provides you with great dining and shopping options. As with many other condos in the vicinity, the Orchard Road shopping belt is also a big draw for those choosing to live in this area. Somerset MRT is accessible via a 15-minute stroll where it will lead you to a plethora of malls including 313 Somerset, Paragon, Ngee Ann City, etc. If I am allowed a small gripe, it would be that the nearest bus stops are a distance away – in fact, likely further than the Great World MRT. 

As much as Robertson Quay is a hip neighbourhood,  everyday conveniences and Martin Modern’s overall unit setup (2 to 4 Bedrooms only) means that families are the target market too. This is further enhanced by its proximity to River Valley Primary School, which is almost at Martin Modern’s doorstep. 

Nearest MRT: Great World MRT (5 mins walk, 400m)

Public Transport 

Bus StationBuses ServicedDistance From Condo (& Est. Walking Time)
Bef Kim Yam RdStop ID: 1309932, 54, 139, 195, NR1, NR2, NR5, NR6, NR7, NR8500m, 6 mins
Aft Unity St Stop ID: 401191N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N, NR3550m, 7 mins

Amenities

Schools

river valley primary
SchoolDistance From Condo (& Est. Walking Time)
River Valley Primary School100m, 1 min
Alexandra Primary School1.8km, 22 mins
Outram Secondary School1.1km, 14 mins
School Of The Arts1.9km, 24 mins

Retail Outlets

Great World City
MallDistance From Condo (& Est. Walking Time)
Great World City750m, 9 mins
UE Square850m, 11 mins

Private Transport 

Key DestinationsDistance From Condo (Average Time at Peak Hour [0830] Drive Time)
CBD (Raffles Place)2.9km, 10 mins
Orchard Road2.2km, 8 mins
Suntec City4.1km, 14 mins
Changi Airport 20.4km, 27 mins
Tuas Port (By 2040)37.0km, 50 mins
Paya Lebar Quarters/Airbase (By 2030)11.5km, 20 mins
Mediapolis (and surroundings)7.9km, 15 mins
Mapletree Business City8.7km, 21 mins
Tuas Checkpoint 26.9km, 32 mins
Woodlands Checkpoint21.7km, 33 mins
Jurong Cluster (JCube)14.9km 25 mins
Woodlands Cluster (Causeway Point)25.8km, 34 mins
HarbourFront Cluster (Vivo City)5.4km, 17 mins
Punggol Cluster (Waterway Point)20.3km, 30 mins

Immediate Road Exits: 2 – Martin Place leading to Kim Yam road and Muthuraman Chetty Road leading to Martin Road

The Developer Team

Developer Notes

Listed on the SGX since 1978, GuocoLand is a premier regional property company with operations in Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

Headquartered in Singapore, the principal business activities of GuocoLand are property development, property investment, hotel operations and property management. As of 30 June 2020, the Group’s total assets amounted to approximately $11.1 billion.

In Singapore, the Group has successfully developed 36 residential projects yielding ~11,000 homes. GuocoLand’s flagship Guoco Tower at Tanjong Pagar integrates premium Grade A offices, F&B retail space, Wallich Residence, the 5* Sofitel Singapore City Centre and a landscaped urban park. Their upcoming Guoco Midtown, comprising Midtown Modern and Midtown Bay is also expected to rejuvenate the Bugis precinct. Guocoland has also developed a sizable portfolio of properties spanning across the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Tianjin. 

Architect Notes

ipli Architects was founded in 2001 by Yip Yuen Hong and his wife Lee Ee Lin. Yip Yuen Hong previously cut his teeth with HDB, William Lim & Associates, Akitek Tenggara before co-founding HYLA Architects. I have always associated Yip with GCBs and other landed homes where his design philosophy has always been to retain Singapore’s architectural heritage. Nevertheless, he has also embarked on smaller boutique developments such as M5, 118 Killiney and Jervois Prive and most recently, Midtown Modern with ADDP. 

ADDP is no stranger to Guocoland and the Singapore condo scene. Founded in 1986, they pioneered the prefabricated construction method in Singapore. ADDP’s philosophy emphasizes vibrant growth through the production of innovative and quality designs. Among the projects which they have completed include Guocoland’s The Avenir and Martin Modern, as well as Seaside Residences, Botanique at Bartley, and Cliveden at Grange amongst many others. 

Stack Analysis

Development Site Plan

martin modern siteplan

Unit Mix

Unit TypeSizeNo. of Units
2 Bedroom764 sqft150
2 Bedroom + Study 850 – 883 sqft90
3 Bedroom1,012 – 1,087 sqft90
3 Bedroom Premium1,324 – 1,421 sqft60
4 Bedroom Premium1,707 – 1,798 sqft60

Martin Modern has a mix of 2 to 4 Bedroom units, with about half of the units (53%) being 2 Bedroom types, a third (33%) being 3 Bedroom types and the remaining ones being the 4 Bedroom Premium. Only 3 Bedroom Premium and 4 Bedroom Premium units come with private lift lobby access. The overall unit mix is relatively simple, with no 1 Bedroom units or Penthouses, which means that this development is pretty family-friendly for a hip district such as Robertson Quay.

Judging from its launch price at $1.8 million for the 2 Bedroom to $2.1 million for the 3 Bedroom in 2017, I would say (in retrospect) that they were meant to offer a more affordable entry into prime District 9 without compromising on the liveable space. Of course, prices have gone up a fair bit since, but let’s have a look at the price comparison before coming to a conclusion. Unit sizes in general are within what you’d expect for a new condo today, with the exception of the 3 and 4 Bedroom premium units – which will be for those who require more spacious living areas.

Best stacks

Martin Modern Best Stacks

There are just 2 towers here at Martin Modern, forming an L-shape that maximises the views available from its site. There are a total of 15 stacks spread across 30 storeys with general directional facings of North (stacks 12 to 15) , South (stacks 8 to 11), East (stacks 4 to 7) and West (stacks 1 to 3). 

As much as I don’t like the afternoon sun in Singapore (West facing), the most premium units actually have this facing, including the 3 Bedroom and 4 Bedroom Premium units. This is the case because it does have one of the most preferred views here, fronting towards the Singapore River with unobstructed views as River Valley Primary is a  low-rise building. 

I personally quite like the South facing stacks most, especially on the higher floors (~15th floor and above) as the units have a city view that allows you to see Marina Bay Sands and the rest of the CBD in the distance. For those of us working there, it kind of reminds you of what it took to achieve your dream home. 

Martin Modern Price Review

If you are considering Martin Modern, you will undoubtedly compare it against its neighbouring developments. So here is how it stacks up!

Development UnitsPsfTOPTenurePrice Gap
Martin Modern450$2,682202199 Years
The Avenir376$3,1762023Freehold(16%)
Irwell Hill Residences540$2,776202699 Years(3%)
Riviere455$2,739202399 Years(2%)
The Iveria51$2,6172024Freehold2%
8 St Thomas250$2,7762018Freehold(3%)
Martin Place Residences302$2,3882011Freehold12%
Rivergate545$2,5712009Freehold4%
Aspen Heights606$2,0551998999 Years31%

The peers I have listed here can be categorised into 2 main groups – the first, new launches in its vicinity, and second, comparable resale condos nearby. Among the new launches, Martin Modern is about the same price as The Iveria, Irwell Hill Residences and Riviere, the latter 2 which we have also written about previously. With the exception of The Iveria, which is Freehold, the other 2 have comparable leases of 99 Years. 

Prima facie, The Iveria may seem reasonable but it is a boutique development with just 51 units and very few facilities. It is inspired by New York’s Flat Iron building, which means that layouts are also largely irregular so this development can be said to be of an acquired taste (I do like it personally though). As for Irwell Hill Residences and Riviere, both have their own strengths, with the former being very close to Orchard and the latter having Singapore River views for all units. For Martin Modern, I would say that its biggest advantage lies in the fact that it is move-in ready, so buyers who require a property urgently can do so without waiting. Its location is also somewhat the best of both worlds – despite the great views offered by Riviere, it is situated in District 3 while Martin Modern has some units with river views whilst being in District 9. 

Centennia Suites Condo park connector

With the current pricing of Martin Modern and Riviere, you could also say that Riviere is quite decently priced from a psf perspective. It will have the advantage of being newer (not by much) and having proper river views. Although Riviere does boast bigger units on average, the actual quantum will still be undoubtedly higher.

As for the resale condos nearby, Rivergate and Martin Place Residences are their closest competitors. Both have a tenure advantage by being Freehold. Rivergate is a beautiful project, with the 2 towering 42 storey blocks at the edge of the Singapore River. More than that, it is also complete with full condo facilities, including a lagoon pool that meanders around the centre of the development, 2 tennis courts and 1 basketball court. Martin Modern and Rivergate have very similar psfs, although Rivergate did hit a new psf high of $2,798 earlier in January. Whilst attractive, we will need to consider the difference in quantum between the two – Rivergate’s 2 Bedroom units start at 1,023 sqft and 3 Bedroom from 1,496 sqft, both of which are significantly more than Martin Modern. Of course, let’s not forget that Martin Modern is some 12 years newer, so facilities will also be newer and less prone to fail. 

Much of the same maintenance considerations can be said about Martin Place Residences, which is about 11 years old now. Moreover, Martin Place loses out quite a bit in terms of views for some units. Whilst still boasting of city views for some, they almost do not have any river facing units for those looking for them. Perhaps that explains the slightly cheaper psf even when compared to Rivergate. Condos of this vintage often have larger units, and it is no different here. It is of comparable size to those at Rivergate, but quite a bit more than Martin Modern, which means that the latter’s higher psf is mitigated by its smaller units. 

Overall, I would say Martin Place Residences, Rivergate and Martin Modern all offer good value of its own and come down to your priorities and perspectives. If you are hankering over the Freehold title, Martin Modern is out of the question. But if you want a development that is brand new and offers a whole different facade from the entire neighbourhood, Martin Modern is definitely a very decent choice. 

Appreciation Analysis

martin modern masterplan

Martin Modern is situated in the mature and long attractive estate of Robertson Quay, famed for its cafes and nightlife. In many ways, the area has already been fully built up and the overall appreciation will depend on the market sentiments. That said, the upcoming Great World MRT will help to keep the prices here stable as it enhances its public transport connectivity. The wider River Valley region stands to gain from this MRT, so you could say that the upside to Martin Modern is not exactly as significant as one would imagine. Nevertheless, as one of the newest condos, it will be attractive to both buyers and investors alike.

Do note that while the area is pretty built up, there are two pretty big reserve sites close by, one of which is the current Herencia building. While it’s currently repurposed with various office spaces, and there’s no telling what this could yet become, it does represent some potential for further upgrades to the area in the future.

Another point would be the upcoming rejuvenation of the wider Clarke Quay precinct close by. More details have yet to be released by Capitaland, who are also developing Canninghill Piers, which is expected to breathe new life into the sleepy Fort Canning region. This should help to enhance the overall liveability and excite more buyers into considering a lifestyle around the area. 

Our Take

martin modern condo open seating 1

Martin Modern redefines luxury with its unconventional design – taking inspiration from the godowns that once dotted Robertson Quay and embracing the natural rawness of materials. Make no mistake, this is difficult to pull off but the architect Yip Yuen Hong is the preeminent name in this form of design. 

It’s something that resonates with me – Martin Modern is already in a prime area so there is little need for further glitzy elements such as gold-accented pillars, etc – people already know that you have ‘made it’ by your address alone. That doesn’t mean that the materials used here are shabby either – in fact, it’s likely that it takes more man-hours to carve out those corrugated panels on the towers and off-form concrete slabs.

Beyond the architectural differentiation, Martin Modern’s aspiration to create a botanical garden amidst the city means that 80% of its site is dedicated to landscaping, making the common spaces seem generous and expansive. The sheer amount of greenery dedicated to Martin Modern is also impressive, creating a real sanctuary of a home amidst the hustle and bustle going on in Robertson Quay. 

Of course, living here naturally means that convenience will never be an issue. The revamped Great World City and the plentiful cafes, bars and restaurants will just be around the corner and are set to be further enhanced once the MRT becomes operational sometime in 2023. More importantly, the prices of Martin Modern, despite increasing pretty significantly since its launch in 2017, remains relatively attractive in the area, with units boasting of either city and river views. 

Overall, Martin Modern is a unique development that stands out for the right reasons. It has quite a few competitors in the vicinity, and its 99-year lease in an area filled with Freehold properties might weigh it down 20 years later – but for now, it is one of the newest and its differentiated design makes it an easily recognisable condo in the area. 

What this means for you

You might like Martin Modern if you:

  • • Enjoy the Singapore River lifestyle:Martin Modern offers this lifestyle with more tranquility as it is located in a quieter side of Robertson Quay.
  • • Appreciate the expanse of space:0% of units will be dedicated to landscaping, making Martin Modern a rare treat in prime District 9.
  • • Have a taste for understated luxury:Raw, off-form concrete are central themes by renowned Yip Yuen Hong in the architecture of Martin Modern.

You may not like Martin Modern if you:

  • • Are looking for small units:Martin Modern’s lack of 1 Bedroom options means that buyers will need slightly deeper pockets to gain an entry here.
  • • Prefer a more traditional design:Martin Modern’s more brutalist / industrial design may not suit everyone’s taste and is quite different from the usual luxury development with more glitzy features.
End of Article
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Matt K

Matthew is in his 20s, a run-of-the-mill graduate looking for his first home. He is intrigued by beautiful homes and their ability to be an effective legacy planning tool. In pursuit of this, he has visited over 100 showflats and resale condos since the age of 16 and hopes to share some of his insights here at Stacked.

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Rafi Akbar
Rafi Akbar

hi I really like your apartment reviews, I don’t know if this is possible but can you do a review at TwentyOne Angullia Park at Orchard, I really appreciate it if you do a review about that apartment. thank you

Stacked Homes
Stacked Homes

Hi Rafi! Thank you for your kind words! We’ll shortlist that If you are a resident of the development, please do let us know at your email hello@stackedhomes.com too. Thank you!

Mav
Mav

Matt your too fluffy with your words, ‘Martin Modern’ looks like a painted HDB very poorly constructed and will cost the owners in the future with maintenance which you can clearly see already as the building exterior was not even painted properly, fences of low quality and external walls already showing clear signs of leaching. What I find hard as an owner and resident in D9 is the continual small size of apartments and excessive price for a lease hold sites. Iveria is another example of this with tiny sub 950 sqft apartments as well as the butchering of the… Read more »

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