Locale | Golden Mile Tower Research



Before I started my research on my location, I had to research on methods of research. Research methods are split into Primary research and Secondary Research. Primary research revolves around gathering new data via field research while Secondary research is to gather information that already exists.

Looking further into the various forms of research, there are qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data includes

  • Direct observations
  • Open ended surveys
  • Focus groups
  • In depth interviews
  • Oral history
  • Participant Observation
  • Ethnographic observation
  • Contextual analysisOut of the various forms of qualitative data, I will be focusing on direct observation, participant observation and context analysis as it’ll be the most plausible methods within the current timeframe.Quantitive  data on the other hand is data that is able to be quantified with numeric variables. Such data includes number of shops, human traffic, etc.The researcher’s stand on the location plays a big factor in the location research as we have different experiences and expectations entering the place. You need to take into consideration the biases of acknowledging if you are an insider or outsider of a space.

Before going to the actual site for observations, I set a few guidelines and questions for myself.

  • Who are the key subjects?
  • Where do you belong as a researcher?
  • What happens at a specific place and time?
  • When do things happen and are there an identifiable pattern?
  • Are there differences in personal assumptions of the place and if the “locals” agree in it?FIELD RESEARCH 
    I tasked myself to focus on the 5 senses and just take note on everything I observe on a Friday from morning till the late night through sound recordings, videos and written notes.

9am – 11:30am
12pm – 1:30pm
6:30pm – 8pm


11pm – 1am


Sounds Recorded :






After observing the activities that occur throughout the day, I decided to split the activities based on different areas of the building. In summary, each area depicts a prominent activity that contributes to the space’s character and uniqueness.


Golden Mile Tower houses Star Transit, a coach service that provides daily shuttles from Singapore to KL or Johor. Their operations run from 0645 in the morning all the way to 2359 at midnight. Their busy periods run early in the morning, during dinner and towards the last few trips out of Singapore. The commuters that travel during the peak hours look like it’s a normal routine, often just carrying a backpack or a small luggage. There are very little expat tourists/backpackers contrary to my assumptions.


The spiral staircase is an iconic structure of Golden Mile Tower as it links the ground floor to the two main functioning theatres of the space, Carnival Cinemas and The Projector. Golden Mile Tower originally housed the theatres Golden 1, 2 and Golden Studio which are recently repurposed for new cinemas. Projector expanded their operations and included Intermission Bar that hold music gigs every other weekend. The patrons that attend stand out from the usually crowd as they head towards the lift that brings them straight to the cinema at level 5.


Contrary to the general assumption that the complex is famous for it’s Thai Bars and Thai food, there are a very low percentage of Thai-related shops that occupy the building. The shops are inhabited by old tenants either running amulet shops or offices that are not open to the public. There are offices that are located from level 7 – 22 which are only 2/3 occupied. The activity of the shops can be describes by the smell throughout the day. The corridors in the morning have a strong incense smell as it grows to the smell of cooking food during lunch. In the evening there’s the stench of stagnant oil and frying meat that wafts around as the mookata restaurants begin to get crowded.


The rooftop is probably the most interesting to me as it features the ageing architecture of the space in contrast to the new establishments that are occupying it. With $3 flat parking after 5pm, it was a great place to just hang around while doing my research. Golden Mile Tower sits awkwardly in place with other oddly shaped buildings along Beach Road. The building features brutalist-like architecture with round corners and seem as if it’s made out of multiple modules. There are visible signs of age and detoriation when the walls are seen up close. The metal signs have rust and the concrete walls and floors have huge chunks missing from them. As the carpark act as an roof space, there is clear views of the Kallang basin and portions of the city skyline. The space is occupied at night by a bar which run parties mainly by expatriates. It gets crowded from 10pm onwards till late around 3am.

My selected data can be presented in the video below. They feature the sounds that occur at the respective timings across the day that enhances the experience and vibe of the area.


As Golden Mile Tower reaches it’s halfway mark of it’s 99 year old lease, there are attempts to reacquiring the land via enbloc. It brings forth the question of the sustainability of the new initiatives such as Projector and the rooftop bars. I find the unique selling point of the area the deterioration of the old architecture in contrast with the new tenants that are repurposing the space for a younger crowd.

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