Transcript of a Presentation by the ARC Studio Architecture & Urbanism, URA Centre, 7 May 2002

The Ground

The ground became very important and complicated to us. In this case, there’s the CC and there’s the MRT. The longest aspect of the site is western facing, along Cantonment Road. Planning of the ground has to take all this into account. On top of that, you have to squeeze in the car-park, create nice green spaces and a sub-community. So, if you look at the ground, it has to be an organising surface, it has to be a device that’s able to do all that and be able to provide a good solution. So we started off looking at the existing network. Not only at what is there physically, but there is also movement, there are people.

The ground, we decided, will have to be an activated surface. Looking at current HDB developments, the ground is green and yet it is not really all that active.

This is a “city-activity”. Now this part is pretty good. The playground became a field of activity for people. This is taken on a Sunday at the Botanical Gardens. Small gathering, exercise, relaxation. This is taken at “Tekka” Market. Chinese opera. Picnic and exercise. Outdoor concerts. And wonderful possibilities and programmes that could actually occur right next door to you.

So we saw a housing development where green and the units came together. We wanted to look for a simple way to do so and we thought of the circuit board as the organising surface and plug-in. These are simple devices but actually, when we put them together, they form a relationship and thereby enhancing and creating even chance programme. So we started talking about constellations and gathering of nodes.

And we wanted to bring this activity all the way up in the blocks so our initial reaction was to look at strategic means to bring the green up into the blocks. The blocks are all oriented in a North-South direction and the greens are woven through the blocks.

Next I’ll talk about streets and how the street activity can actually be mapped vertically on the flat block. Essentially we plugged in the programme and projected the activity onto the block. But somehow, all these schemes were rejected because of the criteria that we had set. Later I’ll relate further on that.

These are units that are existing HDB units, which are renovated. Fantastic range of creative designs. We realised that people constantly change the style of their flats and there is even the need to differentiate themselves within their homogeneous homes. So we decided to build in the structure for this kind of change and both the plug-in and our unit plans actually facilitate change. It becomes an organic design.

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Last modified: 30 October 2002