New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 72

“In Singapore, the standard typology for residential developments is a cluster of isolated, towers, which do little to enhance a sense of community,” the architect says. “This design, in contrast, explores a dramatically different approach to tropical living, providing an expansive and interconnected network of communal spaces within a natural environment.” Thirty-one apartment blocks, each six storeys high, are stacked in a hexagonal arrangement to create eight large-scale courtyards. The interlocking blocks resemble a vertical village, complete with cascading sky gardens and both public and private roof terraces. Extensive residential amenities and facilities are interwoven with the landscape, amid lush vegetation, providing opportunities for social interaction, leisure and recreation. “The architecture is more about the spaces between the buildings than the built-up areas themselves,” says Scheeren. “While the buildings provide the residences, they are more importantly a tool to generate the open spaces.” The architect says the company experimented with many different configurations to maximise the design of the courtyards and natural light. “In the end, it was the hexagon that won out over a square or rectangular form. The angles at which the buildings meet are 120°, not 90°. This means the buildings are slightly turned away from each other, which helps to open up the views and provides more privacy. It also creates well-articulated outdoor areas.” Scheeren says the stacking principle ensured 70 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT there would always be openings in the blocks. “There are no sealed envelopes – the buildings are completely permeable,” he says. “This allows the light, wind and cooling breezes to penetrate. It also creates visual openings, so residents don’t feel cut off from the wider landscape. The development has a very different feel to a tower block – it is all about lightness, openness and transparency.” The architect says the exterior of the building is layered to create a stratification of outdoor living areas. These range from highly communal sky gardens to slightly more private terraces and very private spaces. All apartments have balconies, and many have protruding terraces that can become an extension of the living room. “It looks deceptively simple, but there is a richness and complexity to the architecture that helps to generate a sense of excitement and freedom,” says Scheeren. “The development never feels crowded. “The accommodation itself is also varied within each block. While the overall building form is highly dynamic, each individual block is an entirely pragmatic rectangle that allows a very efficient layout. Spaces are also generously sized and light filled, and the quality of the fit-out is high.” As with all OMA buildings, sustainable design determined every aspect of the architecture. “We incorporated passive design strategies throughout the project,” says the architect. “Daylight is optimised, and there is shading in the courtyards. Apartments are positioned to minimise solar gain, while taking advantage of the breezes Below:The hexagonal form can be seen from above, in both the plan and finished development. Right:Because the buildings are stacked on a 120° angle, views and privacy are maximised. The hexagon motif can be seen on the underside of the concrete slabs.