Sin­ga­pore’s land­scape trans­form­ers

Wallpaper - - Singapore Revealed - Il­lus­tra­tor: Adam Simpson Writ­ers: Daven Wu, Ricky Yeo, Whang Yee Ling

A ca­sual scan of Sin­ga­pore’s sky­line re­veals an in­trigu­ing mix of old and new. Old in the form of the shop­houses of Chi­na­town and the East Coast, and the mid­cen­tury black and white bun­ga­lows that dot the out­skirts of Orchard and Alexan­dra Roads. New in the form of an as­ton­ish­ing haul of mod­ern clas­sics by the likes of Zaha Ha­did, Nor­man Fos­ter, IM Pei, Richard Meier and Thomas Heather­wick. Still more in­ter­est­ing, how­ever, are the projects that are not just adding to a new sky­line, but which are also ad­dress­ing the ques­tions and dilem­mas of mil­len­nial ur­ban plan­ning. How, for in­stance, can ar­chi­tec­ture be ef­fec­tively re­tooled to ad­dress an age­ing pop­u­la­tion or the ed­u­ca­tional needs of the very young? How can na­ture be in­te­grated into the ur­ban land­scape in a re­al­is­tic way that doesn’t be­come a sci-fi par­ody? How does one cre­ate a build­ing that truly meets the needs of its oc­cu­pants? Sin­ga­pore doesn’t pre­tend to have all the an­swers, but as you’ll see from the dis­parate projects fea­tured here, this lit­tle is­land state is lead­ing the way with both in­ge­nu­ity and chutz­pah.


Seven architects gut­ted and re­de­fined eight ter­raced houses built in the 1920s in Gey­lang. In the hands of less op­ti­mistic architects, the build­ings might have gone the way of the lurid KTV pubs and ba­nal of­fices that be­devil ar­chi­tec­ture of this kind across Sin­ga­pore. In­stead, the architects, among them HYLA and Zarch Col­lab­o­ra­tives, nudged con­ser­va­tion di­rec­tives to the limit, drama­tis­ing the in­te­ri­ors with un­ex­pected spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ences. th­elor24ashop­hous­


In re­sponse to a gov­ern­ment call-out for a hous­ing pro­to­type that also in­cor­po­rated the needs of an age­ing pop­u­la­tion, architects SCDA cre­ated in­ter­lock­ing mod­ules that al­low gen­er­a­tions of the same fam­ily to live to­gether while cre­at­ing struc­tural bound­aries for pri­vacy. Skyter­race is just one com­po­nent of a larger com­mu­nity goal of promoting cross-gen­er­a­tional in­ter­ac­tions, such as po­si­tion­ing child­care fa­cil­i­ties close to el­der­care cen­tres. sc­daar­chi­


Our Tampines Hub is proof that com­mu­nity en­gage­ment can be more than mere rhetoric. Even be­fore the first line was drawn, DP Architects held road­shows and block par­ties, and har­nessed so­cial me­dia to gauge the views of Tampines’ res­i­dents. The re­sult is an airy struc­ture, de­signed by res­i­dents for res­i­dents, with sports, cul­tural and life­style fa­cil­i­ties, rooftop gar­den ter­races, a so­lar roof and food waste recycling tech­nolo­gies.


Founded in 1980, the Lien Foun­da­tion works with architects and de­sign­ers to reimag­ine ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties and el­der­care homes. For ex­am­ple, the foun­da­tion bankrolled Lekker Architects’ Cater­pil­lar’s Cove, a learn­ing lab that es­chews class­rooms so as to lit­er­ally free its stu­dents from struc­tural con­straints. Chil­dren have also been in­vited to con­trib­ute ideas for their dream play­ground, which will be built at a kinder­garten later this year. lien­foun­da­


Mandai, in north­ern Sin­ga­pore, is cur­rently be­ing trans­formed into a na­ture and wildlife des­ti­na­tion, and this project looks set to be a new ur­ban model for green­ing a me­trop­o­lis while care­fully con­sid­er­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal and con­ser­va­tion is­sues. For project architects RSP Architects Plan­ners & Engi­neers, the chal­lenge has been ‘to min­imise en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact within the de­vel­op­ment site while cre­at­ing mean­ing­ful and mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ences for vis­i­tors.’


The ex­ten­sion of the Crowne Plaza Ho­tel at Changi Air­port, de­signed by architects WOHA, is, in terms of con­struc­tion tech­nol­ogy, a bona fide gamechanger. The 243 new rooms, in­clud­ing walls, floors, door han­dles, bath­room tiles, car­pets, sinks and bath­tubs, were as­sem­bled off-site in a Shang­hai fac­tory, shipped to Sin­ga­pore, then slot­ted into place on-site. If the sav­ings in time and cost aren’t suf­fi­ciently im­pres­sive (50 per cent re­duc­tion in man­power and 67 per cent in con­struc­tion time), then the im­pli­ca­tions for the con­struc­tion in­dus­try at large cer­tainly are.

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