Project Tour

HDB Reviews Pinnacle@Duxton Review: More Liveable Than You Might Think

  • December 28, 2020
  • 48 min read
pinnacle@duxton block view

The Pinnacle@Duxton offers residents premium living in the CBD area at an affordable price point given its strong connectivity, amenities and exclusive facilities.

Reviewed by Reuben on December 27, 2020

What we like
  • Walking distance to MRT with 3 lines
  • Close to amenities
  • Sky garden facilities
  • Integrated with a park
What we don't like
  • Not easy to reach a park connector
  • No sheltered path to the MRT
Project: The Pinnacle@Duxton
HDB Town Central Area
Address: 1A – 1G Cantonment Road
Lease Start Date: January 2011
No. of Units: 1,848

I think it’s safe to say that The Pinnacle@Duxton is probably Singapore’s most well-known HDB project.

It has made headlines for many reasons, one of which is its superbly central location in Tanjong Pagar along Cantonment Road.

It was also Singapore’s very first 50-storey public housing and also features 2 Sky Bridges that offers a panoramic view of the city – unheard of in the public housing market when it was first announced.

Moreover, the HDB even launched an international architectural design competition and received over 200 submissions which eventually led to the design that we see today.

Now 10 years on (time flies, doesn’t it), The Pinnacle@Duxton has drawn both praise and criticism since its announcement.

Praise for its groundbreaking design and architecture – perhaps a hopeful glimpse of what all public housing can be like in the future.

Criticism for how wasteful it is for tax payers money to be spent on building and marketing such a public housing project.

Today, this development has become the posterchild for “winning the BTO lottery” as prices for 4 and 5 room flats now average $900,000 to over $1 million dollars.

So given the hefty price tag of a 4/5-room flat here, is The Pinnacle@Duxton worth considering?

Let’s start with our usual insider tour!

The Pinnacle@Duxton Insider Tour

Pinnacle@Duxton Block

For those unfamiliar with the area, spotting the towering Pinnacle@Duxton is not hard at all – the 50-storey residential HDB development makes its presence known no matter which side you’re coming from.

What’s amazing is that prior to this, no HDB development had ever reached the dizzying height of 50-storeys. In fact, the HDBs located just opposite on the west of Pinnacle@Duxton is only 30-storeys high. That’s definitely high enough for most, but it is considerably dwarfed by The Pinnacle@Duxton.

pinnacle@duxton block design

Another groundbreaking aspect you’d notice about this development is its design. It’s by no means as attractive (in my opinion) as SkyTerrace@Dawson, but you must remember that this was first marketed in 2004 when the idea of a “designer” HDB never existed – hence the term “groundbreaking”.

Back then, HDBs were really just either long corridor or point block style, with very little variations among them.

pinnacle@duxton design

In fact, the HDB opened the design concept up to agencies worldwide and received a total of 202 entries, which was eventually won by 2 Singapore architectural firms – ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism in collaboration with RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd.

pinnacle@duxton block directory

This isn’t something I’d commonly bring up, but with a steel base and the name “The Pinnacle @ Duxton” etched into it, I do get a feeling of its premium status here.

pinnacle@duxton staircase entry

Walking along Cantonment Road towards the main arrival area, you do get multiple points of entry.

Depending on your point of entry, you would either walk into the 1st level carpark or climb the stairs to the ground level, which really starts from the 3rd floor.

Pinnacle@Duxton ramp
Ramps for easy access

Along the way, I’m happy to see a ramp that can be used to enter the development which makes it not just wheelchair friendly, but also good for residents who have difficulty climbing the stairs.

pinnacle@duxton ramp

In fact there are multiple ramps up to the “ground” floor of the development.

pinnacle@duxton entrance staircase

About a 2-minute walk along Cantonment Road, you will find yourself at the official stairway up to the development.

I do like the how the steps are quite shallow in height and how wide the base is from the start. It does give a grand sort of feeling, perhaps born out of how much real estate the stairs take up here when something narrower could’ve been built – a luxury in land-scarce Singapore.

pinnacle@duxton sign

It is here that you’re also greeted by the unmistakable “The Pinnacle@Duxton” signage. I like that the design is very consistent with the overall colour scheme of the development.

pinnacle@duxton vertical plants

If you noticed, the use of vertical plants is also a theme here. I feel this is more a necessity than a cherry on top given how concrete the entire development already looks, so it’s certainly a welcoming sight.

pinnacle@duxton dirt plants

That being said, it does come with a host of issues such as the upkeep of it. I could spot some rust here, and if it rains, the water from the dirt does run along the ground which could make it a little unsightly.

pinnacle@duxton dirty rust

Still, it’s just a small price that’s worth paying for that added greenery.

Now before moving forward with the tour, I would need to add that this staircase leads up to the “Ground” level which is on level 3. Levels 1 and 2 houses the carpark.

pinnacle@duxton heritage garden
Heritage Garden

Heading up the stairs will bring you to an open area called the “Heritage Garden”.

pinnacle@duxton heritage garden

To me, this was really built for tourists and Singaporeans who want to learn more about the development.

After all, it was the very first designer HDB in Singapore – and if tourists are coming here to see what public housing in Singapore is capable of, might as well lay down how wonderful it is through a series of strategically-placed galleries, right?

Pinnacle@Duxton heritage garden

To be fair, this particular area was never promoted as an amenity/facility to residents. In fact, the site plan indicates an empty area.

pinnacle@duxton staircase area

On my visit, I can see how families use the ample space here for their leisure – a much safer space than the same level as Cantonment Road I might add, so not too many complaints from me about the use of space.

I would’ve nitpicked on how such a space could be utilised better if it were a condo, but this is once again an HDB, so I do think it’s a good use of prime land to pay homage to the rich heritage and history here – even more so as a point of interest for tourists, both local and foreign.

Pinnacle@Duxton basketball court
Basketball Court

Just behind the heritage garden is the basketball court. Clearly, it is a very well-utilised space given you don’t have too many options when it comes to recreational sporting activities in the city.

Given it’s an HDB, the courts here may also have been utilised by residents from other HDBs (or condos, given how few there are!).

pinnacle@duxton block 1A basketball noise
Block 1A faces the basketball court directly

While it’s nice to see how utilised the space is, it does come to the detriment of those living on the lower floors of block 1A.

Unlike other sports, the constant bouncing of the ball, skidding sounds of shoes on the surface of the court and the ball hitting the ring will certainly be a nuisance to those more sensitive to noise.

pinnacle@duxton basketball court

The open-air nature of the court would also result in sound traveling upwards, so perhaps residents in the mid floor would get some ambient noise from here too.

Also, given how close block 1A is to the basketball court, I’m happy to see a vending machine located at the foot of the block.

pinnacle@duxton vending machine

It’s a very tiny detail, albeit one that makes plenty of sense. Of course, any seasoned basketball player should know to bring a bottle of water for hydration, but there’s nothing more refreshing than a cold beverage after a long game!

pinnacle@duxton sheltered seating
Sheltered seating pavilion

Residents who are just looking for a place to lounge instead would find the sheltered seating areas scattered across the development quite useful given the 2 layers of shelter here.

Read this next SkyTerrace @ Dawson Architecture

The top layer is made of glass to protect one from the rain, and beneath that is the wood claddings that helps provide some respite from the scorching sun.

pinnacle@duxton open air ventilation

The seating area’s elevation is not without purpose too – as you can see, it provides natural ventilation and sunlight into the basement carpark – quite clever!

pinnacle@duxton greenery

There are multiple seating areas as well. Some of them are situated in rather open areas which makes it easily accessible. This one is right beside the paper burning bins which happen to be situated in between 2 block’s service yard.

pinnacle@duxton resting area

Others are a little more secluded such as this one that requires you to traverse up a slight hill. If you want more privacy, this is the spot to go to.

pinnacle@duxton seating area
More seating pavilions

Naturally for such a big development, it’s important to see how the common areas are built. To this end, I’m pleased to say that the focus on greenery and communal spaces in the “Environment Deck” is certainly very fitting here – especially so given how urban Tanjong Pagar is.

pinnacle@duxton seating area

And it isn’t just the seating pavilions, you do get other forms of resting points too. I can’t say that this looks very comfortable to rest on, but the design is in keeping with the very raw and industrial blocky look that The Pinnacle@Duxton has.

pinnacle@duxton garden

Since the development is quite spacious, residents here can also enjoy an evening walk around without having to leave the compound.

pinnacle@duxton walking paths

For those with pets, the amount of walking paths and greenery would also be a welcome sight.

pinnacle@duxton greenery seating area

Seating areas are also available around the back of the development which is a lot quieter and less crowded than the center of the Environment Deck.

pinnacle@duxton community garden

Residents with a green thumb would also be pleased to know that the development features its very own community garden here. In an urban area such as this, having a garden space here (however small it may be) is certainly a welcome sight.

pinnacle@duxton sparkle tots

Next up are the preschools located on the same level (level 3) – the first of which is the Sparkletots preschool.

I would imagine most of the residents here to be younger families with both parents working so having a preschool is probably a necessity for many. Plus, the next closest Sparkletots is located at Kim Tian Road – not exactly far, but still not nearly as convenient as one just downstairs!

For those who are wondering if just 1 preschool is sufficient – fret not! The Pinnacle@Duxton also has another preschool – Modern Montessori International.

pinnacle@duxton MMI preschool

And located opposite it is a children’s playground – which is strategically placed to say the least.

Pinnacle@Duxton playground

Perhaps more importantly, the colourful playground adds a contrasting playfulness that breaks the somewhat monotonous mould of this development.

pinnacle@duxton seating areas

There’s also a lot of seating area here all around the playground, presumably for parents to supervise their children or wait for school to end.

Again given how dense the development is, I would expect to see more than 1 playground here – and am happy to report that there’re 3 playgrounds in total here.

pinnacle@duxton playground

The second one here is also located opposite the Sparkletots Gym Room. Like the first, it’s colourful and attractive for children.

pinnacle@duxton sparkletots

The third and last playground is just beside block 1C and is slightly more private given it’s not located right opposite the preschool/childcare centre.

pinnacle@duxton playground

Unlike jacuzzis (in condos), playgrounds are one of those facilities that would be better off being less private given how it should be an area where children can easily congregate (in my opinion), so I wouldn’t say this playground is any better or worse than the others.

If I had to nitpick, I’d say that some seating area here would be beneficial. I know it sounds strange given the high praise I had for seating areas all around, but that’s precisely why it feels like that is lacking here – especially for parents to supervise their children.

pinnacle@duxton site plan board
Another site map in case you get lost

The “Environment Deck” also has several sheltered walkways.

pinnacle@duxton sheltered walkway

These walkways allow residents to reach amenities such as the preschools without having to brave the rain. It’s also just a lot more comfortable to enjoy the space while being protected from the elements of the weather.

pinnacle@duxton sheltered walkway

It is quite a pleasant sight to see parents teach their children how to rollerblade/sktate using these walkways. Given the space, it also didn’t feel like they were a safety hazard.

pinnacle@duxton corridor

The common corridors however, really contrasts the “Environment Deck”. While there are plants located on the side, the rigid concrete and overarching white/grey theme really brings out the blocky and monotonous feel of the space.

pinnacle@duxton common area
Empty concrete area

It is during the walk around these corridors inside that I felt like The Pinnacle@Duxton was very utilitarian.

One could say that SkyTerrace@Dawson is quite similar in that regard, but there’s just a lot more random overhanging plants within the development there as opposed to this one, so perhaps that’s what made the difference.

Mind you, it’s not a complaint – just an observation, as I understand having more plants would only add on to the maintenance costs!

pinnacle@duxton kid scooting

That being said, the common corridors are very spacious to the point where residents (children in particular) use it for leisure too!

pinnacle@duxton paint peeling

It’s also here that you’d notice some maintenance issues. Peeled-off paint is a common sight and also a common wear and tear issue. Given it’s about 11-years old now, I’d say this is quite expected.

pinnacle@duxton corridor repainting needed

Some of the walls also looks like it is in need of a touch of point as the paint has started to wear off.

pinnacle@duxton lift lobby

Next up are the lift lobbies – this one over here is located at block 1B. It isn’t a departure from what you’d normally see from other HDB lift lobbies, but it is quite well-lit. It’s also great to see that CCTVs are installed and displayed prominently here as The Pinnacle@Duxton is probably one of the spaces that has more non-residents moving around – so this will act as a determent for any suspicious behaviour.

pinnacle@duxton wheelchair lift

What I am also pleased to see is a dedicated lift for wheelchair users.

The difference here is that the lift panels are on the side and are lower, as compared to the vertical ones used at the front of the lift.

pinnacle@duxton lift

I know what you must be thinking – aren’t all the new HDBs like this?

Let’s not forget, this was first marketed in 2004 – more than 15 years ago. Singapore did lag behind other developed countries in terms of being disabled-friendly, but we’ve certainly come a long way since.

pinnacle@duxton storey plan
Here’s how the units are laid out

Let’s now head up to see what the unit corridors are like.

The layout is such that every unit is a corner unit here, with 6 units sharing 4 lifts (for this block).

As you can see from the layout, there are 2 more private units on the right side that’s separated from the 4 units on the left.

pinnacle@duxton walkway to units

The walkway to the 2 more private units passes through a void area on both sides.

While these 2 units on this end is more private since it’s further from the lift lobby (and the 4 units around it), passing through the hallway does give you a glimpse into the unit’s kitchen and service yard – though the bars act as a semi privacy filter.

pinnacle@duxton hallway

In terms of common space that the residents can use, there isn’t much to complain here. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the bars here do feel quite cold – almost like a prison given the colour scheme and concrete nature of the common area.

pinnacle@duxton common space outside unit
Common corridor

Considering how you have your own private corner, I think the space afforded here is pretty ok. This particular one is on one side, so the common space at the front of the door receives more sunlight which is great if you want to put live plants there.

One downside would be if there were strong winds and if it’s pouring, I do think the common space here could get a little wet.

The inner units common space does look a tad bit smaller, but nonetheless sufficient to put a shoerack or two.

Of course, those really pressed for space could use one of the spaces in the common area.

pinnacle@duxton common area lift lobby
Bicycle chained in the common corridor

Next, let me show you the Skybridge on level 50 – which is probably what most tourists come here for!

Despite being an HDB, the Skybridge at The Pinnacle@Duxton is not free for non-residents. This contrasts with the Sky Garden at SkyVille – and rightfully so too. Being located in Tanjong Pagar, the development would attract quite a few tourists, unlike the Queenstown area.

Naturally this adds on to both the monetary and quality of living costs, so it’s great that non-residents here are charged $6 for entry. You would need to head to the Management office located on the ground level at Block 1G to purchase an entry ticket.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge block 1G
Guide for non-residents

Frankly, it’s no easy task to find – especially if you came by car and had to navigate your way from the carpark.

In addition to the charges, the Skybridge is only open to a maximum of 200 visitors per day – not at any one time. So once this quota is hit, the Skybridge would be closed till the following day. This is great as it prevents overcrowding from happening here.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge gate

The Skybridge also doesn’t operate on integrity as this very secure rotating steel gate tells us.

Note that while payment can only be made in block 1G, the Skybridge is accessible from all blocks.

pinnacle@duxton rooftop view
Views for days

Some may argue that $6 is unjustifiable to access an HDB rooftop. But to me, this $6 is totally worth paying for the view here.

Interestingly enough as well, the Sky Garden here (and on the 26th level) is actually the longest in the world which spans 500m in length. It’s probably the best spot to get a 360 degree view of the CBD area without the obligation of eating in a fancy, rooftop restaurant in the CBD.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge shipyard

You can also catch a good view of the Keppel and Tanjong Pagar shipping terminal. This view would be changed by 2027 as the terminal shifts to Tuas so take it in while you still can (not that it’s the most beautiful thing to look at).

The valuable waterfront land would be redeveloped as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront initiative, so residents can surely look forward to more exciting amenities here!

pinnacle@duxton skybridge cbd view
City views

Here’s another view from the Skybridge – this one capturing the shophouses located along Keong Saik Road which just illustrates how close residents are to an abundance of eateries here.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge cbd view

In any other part of Singapore, being on the 50th storey would give you complete unblocked views to the end of the island. But in the CBD area, you will undoubtedly face others that are taller.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge cbd view
Which is the tallest building in Singapore? Hint: it’s the tallest building here.
  • pinnacle@duxton rooftop view
  • Pinnacle@duxton skybridge rooftop view
  • pinnacle@duxton skybridge city view

Unfortunately when I was there, maintenance work was going on for the Skybridge on some of the blocks, so I could not capture the 360 degree view.

pinnacle@duxton rooftop walkway

The Skybridge doesn’t just offer gorgeous views though, it’s also a recreation area for residents.

There’s ample amount of space to walk here, and given the Skybridge spans across the entire development, there is no shortage of walking space.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge walkway

In fact, I do think that it’s a lovely place for an evening stroll or run – and I can’t say that there are any other HDB developments with Sky bridges that are as open and spacious to run in, not even the one at SkyVille@Dawson.

pinnacle@duxton garden skybridge

But it’s not just the views that are nice here, it’s also a spot for residents to just enjoy lounging around. There are some areas where you can sit and relax under the shade.

pinnacle@duxton rooftop seating area

I must also give some credit for the choice of plants here. The different shades of green and flowers gives the very concrete-looking HDB some contrast.

pinnacle@duxton seating areas

There are also other seating areas scattered across the Skybridge, though they are a little more disappointing. These lounge chairs here may look sleek and nice from the photos but using it is a vastly different experience.

It’s basically a chair moulded out of concrete and painted to look consistent with the building design. Not only is it rock hard, but there’s no shelter either. I can imagine this to be an appropriate place to gaze at the sky at night, but in the day, it’s just too hot to be of any use.

pinnacle@duxton rooftop seating

While it looks inviting to have a picnic up here, food and beverage is actually prohibited – which is quite sad (although I do understand the rationale as there wouldn’t be anyone to clear the trash). And if you haven’t noticed, there are no dustbins here as well.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge steps

If you want to go any higher, there are steps up to a platform for a slightly better view.

pinnacle@duxton rooftop skybridge walk

I do like that you can cut through the blocks to the back so you wouldn’t have to traverse an entire round just to reach the opposite. With its wooden platform, manicured grass and trees here, it does feel really well done and thought through.

pinnacle@duxton rock bouldering

There is also a bouldering area for children here – a reminder that this is still a residential amenity, not just a viewing deck.

pinnacle@duxton sky garden level 26
The 26th level sky garden stretches 500m long

While the 50th storey Skybridge is great, residents here are treated to their very own Sky Garden – a private floor on the 26th level filled with facilities for the residents’ use only.

I could be wrong but this is the only HDB I know that requires a keycard to access facilities. In some sense, it is similar to a condo where the facilities are exclusive to residents only – and it’s not even a DBSS!

Every other HDB in any other estate has open access to its facilities, so residents here really do enjoy a higher standard. Like the Skybridge, access to the residents-only Sky Garden on the 26th level requires you to go through this rotating steel gate.

pinnacle@duxton skybridge gate

Once you get in, the first thing you’d see is a 2-lane running track. The track stretches around the Sky Garden – and knowing how massive this development is, it’s certainly a long one. Long enough for most residents to get a pretty decent workout!

pinnacle@duxton running track

It’s also good to see that there are maintenance works going on here – on my visit, some of the tracks were still being laid down.

pinnacle@duxton maintenance works

The running track is also sheltered if it is directly under the blocks, but not at all in between them, so residents aren’t fully protected from the elements here.

pinnacle@duxton maintenance works
Tracks yet to be laid

It’s funny to think how living in such an urban area would naturally lead you to believe how irksome it could be to take a run around the area – but the Sky Garden offers that breath of fresh air amidst stunning views!

pinnacle@duxton running track sky garden

The facilities are split across the entire Sky Garden in different zones and are each given a name.

This one is called the “Space Net”.

pinnacle@duxton space net
The Space Net

It’s not the usual playground, but what I especially like about it is that kids can climb up to the pinnacle (see what I did there?) to get a better view of the city.

pinnacle@duxton view sky garden

In fact I would say that the 26th storey seems to be a nicer place to run in as compared to the Skybridge as it has not just the track, but it’s also not too far from the ground – giving you a better view of the buildings around.

pinnacle@duxton city view sky garden
Open area

Besides the track and the Space Net, there’s also an outdoor exercise area here – the Sky Gym.

pinnacle@duxton outdoor exercise area

To be honest, this is probably the best view you can get for an outdoor fitness area located in an HDB – that is if you love city views.

pinnacle@duxton outdoor exercise view
That million-dollar view goes everywhere with you here

There’s a big variety of machines to use here, exclusive to residents only, quiet, and has a gorgeous view. What more can you ask for?

pinnacle@duxton outdoor exercise area

Personally, I would prefer this to the fitness areas along the Park Connector at Queenstown.

pinnacle@duxton open area

There are also spaces where you can lay down your mat and do exercises such Yoga, Pilates, or practice Tai Chi or other open-area sports.

For those who prefer an even more open area, there are spaces that are bigger so you can work out with a friend here.

pinnacle@duxton seating area

It also comes with 2 benches for those who prefer to admire the view.

pinnacle@duxton bench seating skygarden

What’s great is that the benches here have a west-facing orientation, so you’ll be able to admire the view of the sunset from here.

pinnacle@duxton sky bridge view

In fact, given the orientation of the development (east-west orientation), residents can also have a very good view of the sunset across the entire Sky Garden.

There’re also more seating areas in the middle of the Sky Garden too!

pinnacle@duxton seating area

The curved benches here really adds character to the place, but more importantly, the HDB did not shy away from including greenery at all.

In fact, it’s spread across the Sky Garden even in areas where people aren’t expected to congregate.

pinnacle@duxton greenery

The entire Sky Garden’s perimeter is lined with plants, so despite how urban the building may seem, it does feel very cosy up here – more so than some of the other areas.

pinnacle@duxton plants along sky garden

For parents, you will be happy to see that the Sky Garden uses a double ledge for added safety considering how there would be a lot of children running up and down this area.

Next up on our facility list is what is called the “Crater”.

pinnacle@duxton crater sky garden

I believe this must be a continuation of the space theme going on here, given how the other play area is called the “Space Net”.

pinnacle@duxton crater sky garden
Some residents enjoying the sunset

To me it’s just an area of undulating slopes, but I can see how this would be a perfect place for kids to run around and crawl under/run over the bridge, as well as sit on some of these colourful pipe-like structures.

There’s also another open area with more greenery for those who just want to be around more nature.

pinnacle@duxton open area sky garden

And also an ever-so slightly higher platform for you to stand on to eke out a better view from here.

pinnacle@duxton platform sky garden

Again, there are magnificent city views all around here.

pinnacle@duxton view

You even get pretty decent pocket sea views too!

pinnacle@duxton city views
pinnacle@duxton pocket sea views
pinnacle@duxton sky garden rules

Finally, do note that the Sky Garden (both 26th and 50th storey) has multiple strict rules to keep the space desirable, such as restrictions on pets as well as food.

pinnacle@duxton function room

The final tour part of the Sky Garden tour is the Residents’ Committee Centre.

It really looks like a function room, but I do believe it is restricted to only certain activities organised by the committee, so it’s not quite a function room that you see in condos which you can book for private affairs.

When I was here, there were leaflets on Yoga classes on the door. It’s just amazing to see how convenient it is for residents to organise events and classes here which helps foster the community spirit within the development.

Let’s head back down to the Environment Deck.

pinnacle@duxton lift panel

Along the walkway between blocks 1E and 1F, you get a good view of the arrival area at The Pinnacle@Duxton.

pinnacle@duxton arrival area roundabout

The arrival area is accessed via Cantonment Road, and has 2 sufficiently-wide lanes.

pinnacle@duxton arrival area

One immediate problem I see here is that there’s no obvious drop off area if you do not intend to head to the blocks immediately. You can see from the taxi in this photo that the passenger chose to alight here in this unsheltered spot.

Usually in all arrival areas, the middle portion is the designated and sheltered dropoff area, with allowances for perhaps 1-3 cars at a go. But in this case, it’s an open-air carpark gantry to the Tanjong Pagar Community Club.

pinnacle@duxton arrival area dropoff

However, I don’t think that this is a big issue at all. This is because there are 2 sheltered slips here, 1 at block 1E and 1F each that lead you to the lift lobby.

pinnacle@duxton drop off entry

Round the slip road, you’ll be able to alight right at your lift lobby.

pinnacle@duxton dropoff area block 1F
Dropoff at block 1F

Not all blocks get the immediate dropoff at the arrival area, but cars are able to drive into the carpark all the way to the sheltered lift lobby scattered within the development for all other blocks.

pinnacle@duxton lobby entrance
Residents get to be dropped off directly outside the lift lobby

Being ferried straight to the lift lobby is rare for an HDB, so I can say this is one of the “perks” that you get with The Pinnacle@Duxton.

For those who are waiting to be picked up, you could either do so above ground or in your lift lobby.

pinnacle@duxton waiting arrival area

For those waiting on the ground level, I am also pleased to say that there are ample seats here. It’s sheltered from both the rain and sun, allowing older folks to wait comfortably for their ride.

This is in contrast to the one other HDB review I did, SkyTerrace@Dawson, where there aren’t any seats at all. It’s even more disappointing there given the numerous Multi-Generational units available.

pinnacle@duxton arrival area

When I was here during non-peak hours, it was quite busy here already. So I can imagine that drivers could face some waiting time during peak hours – especially since it’s turning out to the 2-lane Cantonment Road.

Residents would also have to contend with drivers entering and leaving the community club.

pinnacle@duxton community club

While the traffic represents a slight disamenity, having a community club this close to your HDB development is just a bonus.

First, there’s greater certainty that this plot wouldn’t be redeveloped into another high-rise development, safeguarding the views of residents here.

But more importantly, the community club adds a host of amenities such as a Badminton Court, Multi-Purpose Room and Multi-Purpose Hall. The CC also specialises in the arts and ceremic courses which are conducted in the CC’s Pottery Workshop and Arts Studios. It’s also the only CC to offer “finger-painting” courses which provides a unique experience for families staying here.

pinnacle@duxton shops

Heading down to the ground level, you’ll find a series of shops here. There’s a medical clinic, dental clinic, laundromat and a beauty salon.

pinnacle@duxton laundromat

As with any other laundromat, this one is also 24 hours.

pinnacle@duxton carpark entrance
From the ground level,

Next, lets take a look at the carpark. No review of this HDB is complete without mentioning the carpark as it is one of the rare few HDB projects with a basement carpark.

The carpark structure here can be a little confusing. There are 3 levels of parking. 1 is underground (basement), and the two above are ground level and up (level 1 and 2). This entrance above is located at the arrival area (level 1), and there are 2 lanes into the carpark.

Given how precious land in the Tanjong Pagar area is, there is no open-air parking here – so every lot is sheltered.

pinnacle@duxton carpark

Inside, the carpark common driveways are sufficiently spacious and lit.

However, it’s not evenly bright all around. Some areas are just brighter than others.

pinnacle@duxton carpark

The development can be honestly quite hard to navigate around for the uninitiated.

This is especially so for those trying to get to blocks 1F and 1G as there aren’t any lots near those blocks. Residents would need to traverse across level 1 or 2 to reach the lots in blocks 1A-1D, so this does make it inconvenient for those living in those blocks.

pinnacle@duxton carpark

While the driveway areas are sufficiently wide, I have heard of residents mentioning that the lots are quite narrow here.

More importantly, the lowest level – the carpark basement – has parking reserved just for season parking holders.

pinnacle@duxton season parking
Extra gantry ensures only season parking holders may enter

The ramp down leads you to the basement.

pinnacle@duxton season parking ramp
Spacious ramp up/down

Do note however, that blocks 1F and 1G does not have basement parking as well.

pinnacle@duxton electric charging

There are even a few electrical charging points for electric vehicles!

pinnacle@duxton garbage area

It’s also worth noting here that the garbage collection points are also located in the carpark too!

While it does make this area in the carpark smell off, it’s definitely better than being located outside where the smells would reach into the households. It also means that much of the noise from the garbage truck is isolated here.

pinnacle@duxton bicycle parking

There are also multiple bicycle parking spots. Being such a dense development, it’s very much utilised here.

pinnacle@duxton bicycle parking

Given the small common corridor outside each unit, I would imagine these to be quite well-utilised too. It’s also more of a necessity given how bringing a bicycle up and down using a lift could make it quite a squeeze for residents.

pinnacle@duxton carpark walkway

Another side effect of having a fully-sheltered carpark on level 1 is that residents are able to move around the development fully sheltered.

And that’s really beneficial considering how it also has its very own entry/exit to the Duxton Plain Park.

pinnacle@duxton park entry

The entry point is so wide, you could almost believe it was catered to motor vehicles.

It is from here that I can really see how the blending in of nature and city is really seamless at The Pinnacle@Duxton.

pinnacle@duxton plain park

Even though the park is not officially part of the HDB, I would say the seamless access to the park does make it feel like it’s part of it.

It’s very similar to how I felt about the Park Connector at SkyTerrace@Dawson.

pinnacle@duxton plain park

The park features several amenities that The Pinnacle@Duxton already has, such as this outdoor exercise area. It does get more utilised when the sun is setting.

pinnacle@duxton outdoor exercise area

I suppose those who prefer a ground-level area to exercise would utilise this, as not everyone is a fan of exercising at high altitudes (but given the views there, could you really prefer this?)

pinnacle@duxton outdoor exercise area
Outdoor gym anyone?

The outdoor exercise area is also sometimes used as a playground by kids.

pinnacle@duxton park outdoor exercise area

Apart from these, the park is also connected to an indoor soccer court and yet another basketball court.

pinnacle@duxton basketball court park

During my visit on the weekend, it’s clear that the courts are well-utilised here. It is some distance away from the blocks unlike the basketball court within the development itself, so I think the noise from here isn’t much of a problem.

pinnacle@duxton park seating area

The park also features plenty of seating area if that’s your thing. But you’d hardly see people using it in the day as it can be quite uncomfortable under the hot sun.

pinnacle@duxton park swing

The swing on the other hand, is more popular.

pinnacle@duxton plains park sitting area

The front of the park also features another seating area with a swing.

You can really see how spacious and green this park is. It really does give the development a much needed break from the urbanness of this area.

pinnacle@duxton park walkway

The park also features some unique plants!

pinnacle@duxton greenery

The front of the park features a restaurant called “Essen at The Pinnacle”.

It features various cuisines from Western, to Asian and Fusion, and it also offers a range of craft beers and wine.

pinnacle@duxton park restaurant
pinnacle@duxton view from stairwell

Opposite the Duxton Plain Park is another smaller park area – one that is more private and does not feature any exercise machines.

pinnacle@duxton park

Back inside The Duxton Plain Park, the trail stretches for quite some distance and also acts as a more scenic and possibly quicker route for residents who want to get to Neil Road.

pinnacle@duxton park walkway
pinnacle@duxton underpass Neil Road
Underpass at Neil Road
pinnacle@duxton Neil Road

Accessing Neil Road is very straightforward for residents, who can then enjoy the numerous restaurants, shops and bars that these shophouses hold.

pinnacle@duxton park trail
The path at the back of Keong Saik
pinnacle@duxton park path

The park trail is rather charming; like a little manicured piece of nature right at the heart of the CBD given the lined shophouses.

pinnacle@duxton keong saik back alley

Residents coming home from here would be treated to the grand sight of their home just along this route.

pinnacle@duxton block view back alley route

The Pinnacle@Duxton Location Review

If there’s anything The Pinnacle@Duxton is known for (besides minting million-dollar flats), it’s how centrally located it is.

pinnacle@duxton shophouse area

In fact, it’s probably the most central HDB in Singapore if you are taking into account the proximity to the CBD.

pinnacle@duxton shophouse area

Towards the north-east side of the development, you’ll find rows and rows of shophouses along Keong Saik Road, Neil Road, Tanjong Pagar Road, Duxton Road and Tras Street.

pinnacle@duxton duxton road
Shophouses along Duxton Road

Needless to say, residents at The Pinnacle@Duxton are spoilt for choice when it comes to food options.

pinnacle@duxton tanjong pagar shophouses

One popular establishment is Potato Head which resides in a corner shophouse along Keong Saik Road.

pinnacle@duxton potato head Keong Saik

Many of the shophouses on both house F&B outlets of varying cuisines, and the night life here is very vibrant.

pinnacle@duxton keong saik

These alleyways spring to life towards the evening, filled with office workers from all around.

pinnacle@duxton tanjong pagar shophouses

Another popular restaurant is Niku Katsumata that offers grilled meat from Ebisu, Tokyo.

pinnacle@duxton katsumata

Residents here can easily travel to these places by foot which is unheard of for most other HDBs.

A Shake Shack outlet is also located very nearby along Neil Road.

pinnacle@duxton shake shack

And let’s not forget the famous Man Man Unagi Restaurant known for their supply of high quality freshwater eel from the Mikawa Isshiki region.

pinnacle@duxton man man unagi
Queues here range from between 30m to up to 2 hours long!

But it’s not just for foodies, the general area also makes for a very pleasant walk given the architecture and random art that you will see along these conserved properties.

pinnacle@duxton shophouse area tanjong pagar art

The Tanjong Pagar locale has always been one of Singapore’s busiest commercial districts since the early days. Its rich history and culture is what makes this entire area such an attractive place to be.

pinnacle@duxton conservation house
pinnacle@duxton Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple
The Sri Layan Sithi Vinayagar Temple was built here since 1925

Some ground level units also house retail shops here.

pinnacle@duxton tanjong pagar Lululemon

In case you’re wondering, The Pinnacle@Duxton is not the only HDB in the area. It’s certainly the newest, but not the only one. The ones seen here are already about 40 years old – though I must say that from the outside, it looks pretty well maintained!

hdbs in Tanjong Pagar

Public Transport

Bus stationBuses ServicedDistance From HDB (& Est. Walking Time)
‘Opp/Maritime Hse”75, 167, 196180m (2m walk)
‘Bef/Pinnacle@Duxton’61, 166, 197220m (2 min walk)

Closest MRT: Outram Park MRT station; 6-8 min walk depending on which block you live (1A is the closest, 1G is the furthest).

Outram Park is currently an interchange that allows you to board the East-West as well as the North-East Line.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, this station would soon connect to the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line some time in 2021, which equates to better connectivity to the north as well as the east.

pinnacle@duxton thomson east coast line outram park mrt

The next closest station is Tanjong Pagar MRT, which is about an 8-9 min walk away.

pinnacle@duxton outram park mrt

The walk to Outram Park is not exactly tranquil as you’ll find yourself along the busy Neil Road and Outram Road.

pinnacle@duxton junction at Neil Road

Unfortunately, the walk isn’t fully sheltered as well.

pinnacle@duxton shophouses cantonment road

Residents are able to cut through some of the shophouses along Cantonment Road, but under the pouring rain, it would definitely not be enough.

Those seeking full shelter would be happy to know that bus 75 just opposite The Pinnacle@Duxton can ferry residents to the train station directly.

pinnacle@duxton bus stop

The immediate bus stops right outside The Pinnacle@Duxton are not very well connected as they are on the smaller Cantonment and Neil Road.

Given its central location however, I wouldn’t quite complain here. Most residents who stay here would find the amenities around the area more than sufficient so this is probably one of the last HDBs any resident can cite as having a lack of connectivity.

Moreover, further bus stops such as the one at Outram Park MRT station offer a greater variety of buses.

Of course, for residents who are able to afford a flat here and still complain about transportation issues, there’s always the option to drive.

pinnacle@duxton carpark sign

Private Transport

Key DestinationsDistance From HDB (& Est. Peak Hour Drive Time)
Raffles Place2.1 km (4 min drive)
Orchard Road4.1 km (6 mins drive)
Suntec City3.3 km (5 mins drive)
Changi Airport20.4 km (16 mins drive)
Tuas Port36.6 km (35 mins drive)
Paya Lebar Quarters12.3 km (14 mins drive)
Mediaopolis7.4 km (8 mins)
Mapletree Business City6.1 km (8 mins)
Tuas Checkpoint26.4 km (22 mins)
Woodlands Checkpoint28.4 km (24 mins)
Harbourfront Cluster3.3 km (4 mins)
Punggol Cluster20.8 km (18 mins)
Estimated driving time based on peak hour traffic

Immediate road exit:
From Cantonment Road Road.


Summary:
The Pinnacle@Duxton is as central as it gets, so I do not expect many residents here to drive to work as those who choose to buy or rent here would probably be working nearby.

Given its location, The Pinnacle@Duxton would remain highly sought after by renters as it is probably more affordable than condos in the CBD area, while offering premium exclusive facilities such as the sky garden as well as the rich amenities in the Tanjong Pagar locale.


Groceries

Name of Grocery ShopDistance from HDB (& Est Time)
MinimartWithin the development
NTUC FairPrice (Tanjong Pagar Plaza)260m, 3-min walk
NTUC FairPrice (Tras Street)500m, 6-min walk


Schools

Educational TierNumber of Institutes
Preschool5
Primary School3
Secondary School7
Junior College1
Polytechnic1
University1

PCF Sparkletots – Within the development

Modern Montesorri International (MMI) – Within the development

Kidspace Learning Place Cantonment – 210m (3 min walk)

Mulberry Learning Centre @ Tanjong Pagar – 210m (3 min walk)

Superland Pre-School (100AM) – 700m (9 min walk)

Cantonment Primary School – 350m (4 min walk)

Radin Mas Primary School – 2.5 km (32 min walk) or 3.2 km (4 min drive) or 23 min by bus.

Zhangde Primary School – 2.3 km (19 min walk) or 2.8 km (5 min drive) or 18 min by bus.

Outram Secondary School – 1.3 km (17 min walk) or 1.8 km (3 min drive) or 16 min by bus.

CHIJ St. Theresa’s Convent – 2.7 km (35 min walk) or 3.7 km (6 min drive) or 21 min by bus.

Gan Eng Seng School – 2.8 km (36 min walk) or 3.5 km (5 min drive) or 25 min by bus.

Crescent Girls’ School – 4.6 km (9 min drive) or 28 min by train

School Of The Arts, Singapore – 3.1 km (38 min walk) or 3.6 km (6 min drive) or 22 min by train

Bukit Merah Secondary School – 4.5 km (9 min drive) or 25 min by train

Queenstown Secondary School – 6.6 km (10 min drive) or 26 min by train

Anglo Chinese Junior College – 8.9 km (9 min drive) or 30 min by train

Singapore Polytechnic – 10.6 km (10 min drive) or 24 min by train

Singapore Management University – 2.8 km (36 min walk) or 3.1 km (9 min walk) or 19 min by bus.

Additional Pointers

  • Near scenic cycling routes along Clarke Quay/Marina Barrage/Tanjong Rhu
tanjong rhu area

I was a little hesitant to include this as a plus point only because The Pinnacle@Duxton does not have easy connectivity to a bicycle-friendly path/Park Connector.

In fact, being situated in a part of the city steeped in heritage does make it difficult to cycle to these spots, especially since the shophouse pedestrian paths are steeped with stairs.

But for those who are able to tolerate the short journey over to Clarke Quay/Marina Bay Sands or willing to brave the bicycle-unfriendly roads of Singapore, an amazing amount of scenic routes are presented before you.

pinnacle@duxton marina cycling route
The black line showcases the possible scenic routes

Once you connect to the cycling route along Clarke Quay, you can comfortably cycle towards Marina Bay Sands/Marina Barrage and onto Tanjong Rhu area.

cycling route east garden
Cycling/Runing path along Bay East Garden

For the more adventurous, the route eventually leads to East Coast Park where you can enjoy the beach and early morning sunrise if you’re up for it.

east coast park beach
  • Greater Southern Waterfront Transformation
greater southern waterfront

The Pinnacle@Duxton has been the poster boy of the lottery effect of snagging a prime BTO, of which many Singaporeans felt was really unfair.

The recent announcement of the Greater Southern Waterfront has rekindled this debate again as HDBs were planned in the upcoming prime area too.

So what does this mean for The Pinnacle@Duxton? While the redevelopment of the area may seem positive, I am wary of the upcoming HDB supply which would be the newer development in a newer estate.

It remains to be seen what restrictions these new prime HDBs would have, but it would undoubtedly pose as competition to The Pinnacle@Duxton once it hits the secondary market.

Overall though, its location so close to Tanjong Pagar and Outram Park MRT along with its exclusive residential facilities would still make this a unique development which could help sustain its pricing, especially with the Greater Southern Waterfront plan coming into play.

This is even more apparent with the Thomson-East Coast Line coming up at Outram Park MRT which would provide an added boost to the rental demand here.

  • Ethnic quota issues
pinnacle@duxton ethnic quota issues
Racial quota for December 2020. Source: HDB.

While not as difficult as HDBs in Queenstown, a quick check on ethnic quotas (December 2020) here show that 5 out of the 7 blocks had ethnic quota problems where those who fall under the Malay/Indian/Others cateogry can only sell to others who fell under this same category.

This usually makes it difficult for those within these categories to sell their home given the smaller pool of target buyers, usually resulting in them having to reduce their price to below market rate.

The Pinnacle@Duxton HDB Site Review

pinnacle@duxton sitemap
Source: SRX. 3rd level site plan.

The Pinnacle@Duxton has won 2 awards in 2010: the PRESIDENT*S DESIGN AWARD and the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia.

It houses 1,848 units in total across 7 residential towers, each 50 storeys high.

pinnacle@duxton schematic diagram
Source: architecturelab.net

The facilities are mostly located on the private 26 floor Sky Garden, while the rest are on the 3rd level called the “Environment Deck”. The 50th floor also houses the publicly-accessible Skybridge where residents can enjoy a very high vantage point of the city and sea view.

Given the “Question Mark” shape, different blocks here would have different orientations varying between East-West facing and North-South facing. Naturally, those with a west-facing unit would get the afternoon sun all-year round (blocks 1C, 1F and 1G), while every unit in blocks 1A and 1D would enjoy the North-South orientation which avoids the afternoon sun while benefitting from the wind currents.

Overall, the development is really a “first” for HDB and continues to remain unique, even with other premium HDBs that have come up like SkyVille & SkyTerrace@Dawson.

Stack Analysis

pinnacle@duxton best stacks

Given the varying block orientation, each block offers something different for residents.

The best stacks here are stacks 13, 15, 17 and 25, 27, 29 between both blocks 1B and 1C. This is because it enjoys the low-lying shophouse view where even residents on the lower levels do get to enjoy the view. It also does not receive any afternoon sun.

pinnacle@duxton shophouse view
Shophouse-facing view

Those staying in stacks 67, 69, 71, 79, 81 and 83 would get the afternoon sun all-year round, while those staying on the middle-to-lower floors would directly face the condo “The Beacon” just opposite. Even at the Sky Garden on the 26th floor, it still wasn’t high enough to clear the full height of the condo.

pinnacle@duxton plants lining sky garden
“The Beacon” condo located on the right side.

For those who want pocket sea views, the stacks with the south-east orientation may interest you. Only those staying from the middle-to-high floors can clear the old HDBs to see pocket sea views past the CBD skyscrapers.

pinnacle@duxton plants and sea view

The Pinnacle@Duxton Price Review

ProjectsLease Start Date3-Room4-Room5-Room
Cantonment Towers2003$528,678
($819 psf)
$760,389 ($806 psf)$909,889 ($768 psf)
The Pinnacle@Duxton2011 – $972,084 ($955 psf)$1,080,675 ($946 psf)

While there are several HDBs in the area, many of them are very old (30-40 years old), a far cry from the 9-year old Pinnacle@Duxton. The next newest HDB is Cantonment Towers which happens to be opposite block 1G.

Cantonment Towers
A view of Cantonment Towers from the 26th level

While the $PSF looks drastically different in the table above, this is largely skewed due to The Pinnacle@Duxton having higher floors as well, which pulls the average $PSF up.

If we compare just between the same storey, Cantonment Towers trades at about a 12% discount to The Pinnacle@Duxton for a 4-room flat, while the 5-room flat is about 13% cheaper.

This discount accounts for the difference in age, so Cantonment Towers does deserve some attention when it comes to sky high prices too if it weren’t for its ordinary architecture.

For the budget conscious who want to stay in this locale, I would say that the 4-room flat in Cantonment Towers is quite palatable. It’s not just older, but smaller too given the average sizes here are about 90 sqm compared the the 4-room flat at Pinnacle, which is around 94 sqm.

It is however, 17-years old already, so those who decide to purchase an HDB there should beware of the stronger depreciation compared to the younger Pinnacle@Duxton.

pinnacle@duxton block view

The real question here, however, is whether or not you should buy a comfortable home in The Pinnacle@Duxton, or a smaller condo in a less central location. This is the dilemma that the sandwiched class face.

Personally, I think that as long as you are thinking about it from an own stay perspective and you desire to stay in this locale, then The Pinnacle@Duxton is a good choice.

The exclusive residential facility on the 26th level, together with the surrounding amenities, proximity to 2 MRT lines (3 in 2021), great city views and the excitement of the Greater Southern Waterfront comes affordably even at a price point of $1 million dollars.

After all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a condo with this many qualities close to this price range.

Our Take

pinnacle@duxton block view

While many say that The Pinnacle@Duxton is “overpriced”, I would argue that there isn’t any product on the market in the area that can offer both the space, exclusivity and at the same time, the price point – especially if you compare it to condos in the vicinity.

And unlike what many may think, it isn’t just about the location. For a HDB project, it does offer facility options that make it a very liveable environment even among a place as urban or densely packed as the CBD.

Of course, if staying in the Tanjong Pagar area isn’t a need or want at all, I wouldn’t go so far as to pay $800K – $1m+ to stay here as there are better options out there.

But if you’re seeking an affordable, spacious home for your family in the CBD, The Pinnacle@Duxton will be a fine choice.

What this means for you

You might like The Pinnacle@Duxton if you:

  • • Want a CBD address: There aren’t many HDBs within the Tanjong Pagar locale to choose from that isn’t old. Among the lot, The Pinnacle@Duxton does stand out.
  • • Want the best of facilities, amenities and convenience: With the plethora of eateries, shopping centres, an 8 minute walk to an MRT sitting on 3 lines as well as an exclusive Sky Garden with stunning views, you really can’t do that much better than this for an HDB.

You may not like The Pinnacle@Duxton if you:

  • • Are are looking for a small unit to stay on your own: With only 2 unit types – 4 and 5-room flats, Singles or couples looking to stay in a smaller home may find the unit sizes here too big – and the quantum not worth paying for.
  • • Are budget conscious: For an average of over $900K for a 4-room flat, those struggling to meet this budget can consider literally all other HDBs in Singapore that could fit your needs. Moreover, the cost of living is expected to be higher than living in other parts of Singapore given its address.
End of Review
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Reuben

Reuben is a digital nomad gone rogue. An avid traveler, photographer and public speaker, he now resides in Singapore where he has since found a new passion in generating creative and enriching content for Stacked. Outside of work, you’ll find him either relaxing in nature or retreated to his cozy man-cave in quiet contemplation.

avatar
caseyaff
caseyaff

it’s really pretty good; one of a kind HDB. thanks for all the pics

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