Plants sprout from coolers and plastic pots. There is reflective silver mylar everywhere, and animal skins. On the kitchen, shelf cookbooks offer instructions on foraging and recipes call for cockroaches. This is the Singaporean apartment of the future as imagined by the U.K. design studio Superflux. Mitigation of Shock, which is currently on display in the exhibition 2219: Futures Imagined at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum shows possible climate futures at a human scale. By using the domestic interior, Superflux defamiliarizes the every day to show us just how foreign—or not—our new normal might be. “We use narrative and speculation as a means of exploring complex problems that are often discussed in terms of data and abstract projections,” Superflux partners Jon Ardern and Anab Jain explained over email. The apartment takes the shape of a Singaporean HDB—or public housing—flat. “In the installation, visitors experience the themes we were thinking about through tangible evidence, artifacts, tools, growing systems, window views, and so on.” There is a circular farming system, an upgrade from the “fogponics” system in previous versions of the project in London and Barcelona. While those apartments had been outfitted with hacked IKEA furniture—a sort of post-crisis version of reclaimed heritage wood—in this version. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Brought to you with support fromThe Safdie Architects–designed Jewel Changi Airport is a 144,000-square-foot toroidal-shaped glass-and-steel pavilion looping around the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. After four years of construction, the $1.3 billion project opened its doors in April 2019 as a bid to deliver a “paradise garden” amid the cacophony of Singapore’s largest airport. The structural system of the canopy is based on a highly complex stick-and-node mesh fabricated with over 50,000 distinct components assembled piece by piece on-site. The roof spans approximately 675 feet at its longest point and 510 feet at its widest. In total, the steel mesh weighs a colossal 6,000 tons.
Low-E glass, the project is slated to receive a platinum rating from Singapore’s GreenMark program. Although the mechanics of the project are remarkably complex, Safdie Architects developed a design-to-construction methodology to ensure the timely completion of the pavilion. “The entire system, including glass panels, steel members, and the custom-shaped solid steel nodes, was fabricated directly from the design team’s computer model by CNC robots,” said Lubin. “The components were produced off-site and then shipped to Singapore in containers. Special labels with scan codes were used on all the components to assist in locating their final position in the building.” The centrally located Rainwater Vortex, the massive waterfall around an oculus approximately 33 feet in diameter, is the product of collaboration with BuroHappold Engineering and water-feature design firm WET Design. The oculus is topped with an ETFE cushion while a custom-designed circular valve controls water flow between a narrow gap in the glass facade’s surface.From above, the pavilion’s layout looks symmetrical, with many identical glass panels. This is not the case. “The design of the roof is a single-layer add-on system composed of 9,000 custom cut—no two panels are the same—double-glazed panels positioned over the triangulated steel diagrid structure,” said Safdie Architects principal Jaron Lubin. “The double-glazed panel sizes were determined to a maximum dimension of 8.5 feet measured diagonally, which was the size found commonly among several major suppliers.” The project is wrapped with Vitro Architectural Glass’s Low-E Solarban glass, while Vitro’s high-visibility Starphire Ultra-Clear is used for the interior’s pedestrian bridges. By using
The CEO of Qatar Airways accused the country of Singapore and Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie of plagiarizing the design of the recently-opened Jewel Changi Airport, likening it to a planned-airport expansion project in Doha. At a recent press briefing, Akbar Al Baker, the head of the international airline, alleged that “somebody” had copied Qatar’s scheme for enhancements at the Hamad International Airport (DOH) located south of Doha. He didn’t name Singapore or Safdie in his announcement but, the criticism was clear: Work done ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include the build-out of a large waterfall and interior garden like those found at the wildly-popular new shopping palace in Changi. Completed in April, the $1.25 billion entertainment and retail complex boasts the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, spanning seven stories across the 1.4-million-square-feet structure. Safdie Architects designed the eye-catching space as a landside, nature-themed amenity hub for the airport. Thousands of plants and 2,000 trees populate the interior. Singapore’s English-language daily newspaper, The Straits Times, reported that Safdie’s concept was initially created exclusively for Changi Airport Group, the airport’s operator and manager, back in 2013 and therefore couldn’t be a copy of the 2019 Doha project. Safdie issued the following statement to the paper:
“We have been pursuing the concept of gardens as a focal point for the public realm for many decades. We have also explored the concept of harvesting the rain into internal rainfalls at Ben Gurion Airport (Israel) and Marina Bay Sands. The success of these explorations have further inspired and led us to create a new icon in the Jewel that we see today—a new kind of urban place that celebrates the elements of nature and urban life. We are delighted that Jewel’s uniqueness and originality has been well-recognized by the international community and resulted in many wanting to emulate it.”This isn’t the first time a piece of airport infrastructure has been the center of plagiarism accusations. Hamad International Airport itself, which opened to the public in 2014, was first criticized for looking too much like the Ben Guiron Airport in Israel. Located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the airport’s Terminal 3 expansion (its international gate) was designed and completed in 2004 by Safdie and Skidmore, Owings & Merill. Last year, Thai architecture practice DBALP Consortium was accused of copying a Kengo Kuma project in its winning competition design for a new terminal in Bangkok.
After six years, the first phase of Safdie Architects’ monumental Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore will open to the public on April 17. That not only includes an indoor “rain forest” with walking trails, but also the world’s largest indoor waterfall. The 1.4-million-square-foot doughnut-shaped building is a greenhouse ensconced within a steel diagrid frame engineered by BuroHappold. The five-story toroid stretches another five levels underground as well and is designed to connect the Changi Airport’s terminals 1, 2, and 3, and to public transit. Jewel was conceived of as an amenity hub for the airport and contains over 280 retail stores, galleries, and restaurants, a 130-room hotel, and operations space for the airport, including a lounge and check-in area. To mitigate the noise from the aircraft taking off around it, the triangular window sections were installed with a .6-inch-thick air gap between the two glass panes. Jewel's crowning feature is its seven-story indoor waterfall, the “Rain Vortex,” which dramatically pours down from a central oculus and into a circular catch below. The waterfall is, appropriately enough, fed by water collected during Singapore’s constant thunderstorms, and the recirculated rainwater diffuses throughout the Jewel to passively cool the interior. All of that humidity also helps maintain the thousands of plants, including 2,000 trees, found within. Other than the Forest Valley, which includes terraced vegetation and “forest walks” around the waterfall, the 150,000-square-foot Canopy Park on the fifth floor further enhances then garden feel. Glass bottomed bridges, topiary mazes, sky nets (suspended net paths), mirrored “discovery slides” that will open on June 10, and a gathering space for up to 1,000 guests can all be found on the Jewel’s top floor. Such an enormous undertaking was a collaborative effort, and Safdie led a multidisciplinary group of designers and engineers. Atelier Ten was responsible for the building’s climate control systems; Singapore’s RSP Architects Planners & Engineers was the project’s executive architect; the Berkeley, California-based Peter Walker and Partners was responsible for the landscape design and plant selection; and Los Angeles’s WET engineered the Rain Vortex and developed a 360-degree light and sound show to play against the waterfall at night.
The Center for Architecture is collaborating with the Swiss Consulate in New York City, ETH Zurich, and ETH's Singapore outpost to put on a two-day Responsive Cities conference. The first day will focus on “citizen engagement,” that is, how smart cities can be developed with input from their inhabitants from the very beginning of the planning process. Speakers based in New York and Singapore, including Fabien Clavier, Kubi Ackerman, and Mike Aziz, will speak on how technology, data science, and fields like cognitive psychology can be leveraged in making future cities that adapt to the demands of individuals and communities. The second day will be dedicated to the increasingly important problem of rising urban temperatures being brought on by densification, population growth, and global climate change, among other factors. Speakers with backgrounds in everything from urban ecology to policy and law will discuss ways to cool warming cities for a livable future. The conference is free and begins tonight at the Center for Architecture and will continue tomorrow evening at the New School’s John L. Tishman Auditorium.
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The Oasia Downtown is a mixed-use office and hotel tower designed by Singapore-based architecture firm WOHA, which set out to create “an alternative imagery for commercial high-rise developments.” Clad in a saturating orange and red metal screen living wall system, the building combines innovative ways to intensify land use with a tropical approach that showcases a perforated, permeable, furry, verdant tower of green in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District. WOHA said the Oasia’s living wall serves as an aesthetic and functional buffer between the surrounding cityscape and the building, creating a layer of shade, absorbing heat, and providing cover. 21 varieties of creeping plants were ultimately used on the project to adapt to various environmental solar conditions responsive to light and shade. “Some produce colorful flowers that will attract birds and insects at different times of the year. The facade is also extended down to the ground, creating possibilities for small animals (such as squirrels) to climb up the building and use it as a vertical habitat.” Together with 33 different species of trees and shrubs on the sky terraces, there is a total of 54 species within this building that attract biodiversity and support ecosystems. This variety also provides natural resilience against disease and bugs, ensuring a more healthy long-term system. The building's structure is constructed of a reinforced concrete frame wrapped in a three-layer building envelope assembly: an internal curtain wall, prefabricated fiberglass planters set on an integrated reinforced concrete ledge, and an expanded aluminum mesh that serves as a climbing base for greenery. Planters tap into an automatic irrigation system and are positioned within easy reach of an inner ring of maintenance catwalks located on every floor of the tower. This architecture provides simple, low-tech maintenance avoiding the need for costly specialized care. The architects said the programming of the tower is analogous to a club sandwich, a stacked typology where distinct floors of offices and hotel rooms are sandwiched between elevated “sky gardens.” Rather than relying on external views of the surrounding city, the tower reorients views inward to a series of vertical urban-scaled verandahs. This openness also allows the wind to pass through the building for improved cross-ventilation. In this way, the public areas become functional, comfortable tropical spaces with greenery, natural light, and fresh air instead of enclosed, internalized air conditioned spaces. Living wall systems are not a new concept for WOHA, which has previously integrated a system onto a 36-story residential development called Newton Suites in 2007 and School of the Arts in 2010, with green plot ratios of 130 percent and 140 percent respectively. Green plot ratios measure the area of vegetation with respect to site area. In comparison to these projects, Oasia Downtown has achieved an 1100 percent green plot ratio, thanks for the extensive use of landscaping as an architectural surface treatment, both internally and externally throughout the building. The architects say the tower ultimately performs as a tropical, urbanistically sensitive and humanistic addition to the city. “We are interested in how green, vegetated facades and sky gardens can transform not just a building, but an entire neighborhood by creating visual relief while achieving psychological, as well as environmental benefits.”
In Singapore, this cooled conservatory contains more than a quarter of a million plants from every continent except Antarctica. Designed by British firm Wilkinson Eyre, the project known as "Gardens by the Bay" houses a 1.2 hectare "Flower Dome" that emulates the cool/dry climate found in the Mediterranean and a 0.8-hectare "cloud forest" that recreates cool/moist climates synonymous with tropical montane regions. The owner's technical representative, climate engineering firm Transsolar, produced a proof of concept with small demonstration greenhouses to aid the project. Adrian Turcato of Transsolar, was on hand to elaborate further. "Plants thrive outside," said Turcato. "Successfully including plants into buildings requires a deliberate design of a facade system that allows [plants] to thrive without compromising human comfort or operating costs," said Adrian Turcato, speaking to The Architect's Newspaper. Turcato added that "balancing plant requirements for light with human comfort by a direct manipulation of facade thermal and solar control" was also a key goal when developing the proof of concept. In 2012 the cooled conservatories were named World Building of the Year and in 2013 the project won the RIBA Lubetkin Prize. Turcato will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6 and 7. There he, Krista Palen (also of Transsolar), and Vishwadeep Deo from facade consultants Front Inc. will be providing a workshop addressing the issues raised by Turcato and will discuss the Gardens and the Bay—a case study among many, along with more practical demonstration calculations and processes—in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com.
Reaching up into the sky in Bishan, Singapore is Moshe Safdie's recently completed development, and aptly named, Sky Habitat. Safdie's design includes walkways that connect the the two structures up to 38 storey's up, offering views across the suburban sprawl of Bishan. Views aren't the only thing offered to residents who take to the bridges at the complex either. As pictured above, a swimming pool spans the majority of the highest bridge (on the 38th floor) complete with palm trees. Below are two more bridges connecting the towers. They provide circulation between the buildings and facilitate airflow through the structures. In fact, ventilation was somewhat of a priority in the context of the Singapore's tropical and climate. As a result, by separating the volumes, Safdie has maximised exposure to each dwelling to combat the humid conditions. That's not to say that they too have been left bereft of vegetation, something which has been a key feature of Safdie's design. The inclusion of such greenery has lead to the bridges being termed as "sky gardens," offering a natural counter to the surrounding urban environment. Bishan, by comparison, is one of Singapore's fastest developing cities. The two volumes of the towers show off a staggered facade that maximizes each dwelling's views and sunlight exposure. Sky Habitat, by name, builds on Safdie's most recognized work, Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada. Equally hierarchical and arguably more complex, Habitat 67 had its roots in his Master's thesis at McGill University. http://www.skyhabitat.com.sg/assets/video/commercial.mp4
Three graduate design students at the University of Pennsylvania—Daniel Lau, Joseph Rosenberg, and Lindsay Rule—have claimed the top spot in AECOM’s sixth annual Urban SOS competition. Their project, called The THIRD Reserve, is an urban landscape concept that would, in theory, allow Singapore's food production system to become self-sufficient. The team takes home $7,500 in prize money and has access to up to $25,000 to support the project. Encouraging cross-disciplinary thought to deal with contemporary urban issues, the Urban SOS program aims to provide design education and strives to help communities in need. Co-organized by AECOM, Van Alen Institute, and the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), this year’s “All Systems Go” brief asked students to develop site-specific ideas to solve urban food/water systems in one of the 100 Resilient Cities locations. With juries in twenty offices worldwide, AECOM chose three finalist teams, later ordered by a final jury comprising design leaders from AECOM, Van Alen Institute, 100 RC, and AN's own West Coast Editor Mimi Zeiger. “Making cities more resilient to change is core to what we do at AECOM," Michael S. Burke, AECOM chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that tomorrow’s cities will require holistic, integrated thinking—like that advanced by UrbanSOS participants in this competition—to prepare for the challenges ahead and to prioritize for the long-term what projects they pursue, develop and fund." In second place, Bennett Lambert and Elizabeth Reed Yarina from MIT took home $5,000 for their scheme, WATERPOWER, in Quito, Ecuador. Third prize went to Michel Liang from Berkeley City College, Pin Udomcharoenchaikit from University of the Aegean, and Sunantana Nuanla-or and Jacky Wah from Louisiana State University. Their proposal for CANAL SOS in Bangkok, earned $2,500. “This year’s entries were particularly strong and deep, coming from universities around the world,” Bill Hanway, competition chair from AECOM, said in a statement. “We commend all of the finalists and all of the entrants for their efforts and innovative thoughts on improving urban communities and their commitment to practice cross-disciplinary design.”
Architects and designers from 47 countries are competing to win prizes in the 2015 World Architecture Festival Awards following the announcement of the shortlist today. Nearly 400 designs in 31 categories have been chosen ranging from small family homes to huge commercial developments, landscape projects and interiors. Major world architects taking part include Foster Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Rafael Vinoly Architects and the designer of the controversial Garden Bridge in London, Heatherwick Studio. As usual there are also small practices unknown outside their own countries, who will be presenting their shortlisted work, along with big names, at the annual World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore this November. This is the eight year of the WAF awards, which cover completed buildings, future projects, landscape designs, and interior architecture and design. WAF programme director Paul Finch commented: ‘ We are delighted that our entry numbers were up this year, and the quality of submissions is as high as ever. ‘What is fascinating about these awards is the opportunity they provide to compare how different architects and designers tackle the same sort of problems in completely different parts of the world.’ For more information www.worldarchitecturefestival.com
This abandoned rail corridor in Singapore will soon be a nationwide linear park, and these firms are competing to design it
Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has shortlisted five winning design firms for an RFP to overhaul the Singapore Rail Corridor. Defunct since 2011 and once a prominent Singapore–Malaysia trade route, the railway spans the entire country from north to south starting at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to the Woodlands Checkpoint. A competition launched by the URA requested proposals to transform the 15-mile stretch into a public greenway connecting four important urban nodes: Buona Vista, the Bukit Timah Railway Station area, former Bukit Timah Fire Station, and Kranji. The five shortlisted design teams are as follows:
- West 8 and DP Architects
- Grant Associates and MVRDV with Architects 61
- Turenscape International and MKPL Architects
- Nikken Sekkei with Tierra Design
- OLIN Partnership and OMA Asia with DP Architects
Sir Peter Cook, Sou Fujimoto and Benedetta Tagliabue - announcing the first of World Architecture Festival’s 70 strong jury
The WAF awards are unique and are the only awards to enter if you want to receive critical feedback in person from our international jurors.Be part of the world’s largest live crit. All shortlisted entrants present live at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore in front of respected critics, architects, clients and associated practitioners. Enter to receive professional feedback, benchmark your work and exchange with your peers and WAF’s global network. WAF has over 70 judges who all attend the festival and critique your work. There are 31 award categories open for entries and each category has its own expert judging panel who will watch presentations from every shortlisted architect live at the festival. View the full judging panel here bit.ly/1H12gfa Both professionally and personally transformational, WAF awards are your gateway to global exposure, recognition and success. The game-changers of your profession, WAF awards are recognised by architects and clients alike. WAF is where your work gains international exposure and where you can make global connections. Anyone can enter and anyone can win. The entry deadline is 22 May, start your entry today at bit.ly/1zO0IFW. WAF 2015 will take place in Suntec in central Singapore from 4 – 6 November. www.worldarchitecturefestival.com