Urban living redesigned

by Darren
Urban living redesigned OLE SCHEEREN

The Interlace residential development revolutionises dense urban living by uniquely arranging apartment blocks to emphasise a sense of community and maximise the space for social amenities and nature.

The Interlace residential development in Singapore, designed by OMA/Buro Ole Scheeren, exemplifies a fresh understanding of contemporary urban living, which earned it the coveted World Building of the Year 2015 title.

The 170 000m² dense housing project involves 31 apartment blocks, each six storeys high with a total of 1 040 residential units of various sizes.

Inventively, instead of just placing separate buildings next to each other, the apartment blocks were turned horizontally and stacked in hexagonal arrangements around eight open courtyards. Partly resting, partly hovering, the blocks form an interlaced network of living spaces and social areas. The stepped geometry, with stacks ranging from six to 18 storeys and three peaks of 24 storeys, resembles the natural topography of the landscape more than a typical tower building.

Nature preserved
Sustainability features are incorporated throughout the project, following a series of site-specific environmental studies, including wind, solar and daylight analysis, and the integration of low-impact passive energy strategies.

With each block spanning 70m, the stacked design results in a multitude of horizontal surfaces populated with extensive roof gardens and landscaped terraces, which in aggregate amounts to 112% of the unbuilt site.

The extended outdoor space on multiple levels also allows views above the tree line to the surrounding courtyards, parks, sea and the city.

All the apartments receive ample natural daylight while providing sufficient self-shading in the courtyards, which helps to maintain comfortable environments in the tropical outdoor spaces year-round.

Water bodies have been strategically placed within defined wind corridors, which allow evaporative cooling to happen along wind paths, reducing the air temperature and improving the thermal comfort of outdoor recreation spaces in strategic micro-climate zones. Multi-storey openings allow light and air to weave into and through the landscape of the courtyards.

Communal activities
The interlocked buildings and courtyards achieve a sense of community by creating a network of shared outdoor spaces. Linked with footpaths, residents are able to share a variety of public amenities on multiple levels.

The development includes facilities such as a clubhouse, theatre, gyms and game rooms, as well as various swimming pools, and play and picnic areas. Lining the perimeter of the site are tennis courts, pet zones and barbeque facilities. A 1km running track around the site connects these activities around the edge to the internal courtyards.

Parking is available in a single level below ground. A large number of open-air voids allow light and air to the semi-sunken and fully naturally ventilated parking deck, creating areas of lush vegetation below ground and connecting these spaces to the courtyards above.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to Büro Ole Scheeren for the information provided to write this article.

Quick facts: The Interlace
Project:         The Interlace
Location:         Singapore
Size:             170 000m² building on 8ha site
Commissioned:     2007
Completed:         2013
Project breakdown:
–    1 040 residences (144 000m²).
–    Clubhouse/amenities (1 500m²).
–    Retail (500 m²).
–    Ancillary (24 000m²).
–    Basement parking (2 600 spaces).
–    World Building of the Year 2015.
–    Urban Habitat Award 2014.
–    Universal Design Mark Platinum Award.
–    Green Mark GoldPLUS Award.

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