by Pallavi MehraJan 19, 2023
As their debut residential project in Asia, Heatherwick Studio set out to create a living space that would combine best of the city and converge that into a space that offers the benefits of apartment living in craft homes. Thomas Heatherwick, who wanted to follow former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s vision, designed the project keeping the ethos of ‘city in a garden’ in mind, which brings together the hustle bustle of city life while giving the residents their sense of privacy as well.
By taking apart the conventional residential tower, the project boasts of a large central living space filled with natural light that is surrounded by smaller rooms and shell-like balconies. The residence relies on natural cross-ventilation and doesn’t depend on mechanical cooling systems. Even the windows have been strategically designed by minimising them and setting them back in external walls, to reduce the heat that comes from solar gain.
The balconies tell their own story of strategic designing. They are made to adhere to a sense of cocooning around the house while simultaneously providing greenery and exterior protection. The south-facing balconies provide double height space and additional solar protection to the interiors of the home. The attention to detail is visible even in the underside of the balconies, a product of the Heatherwick Studio’s bespoke casting technique, which turns the rough industrial concrete into a smooth and highly polished material, giving it a gem-like appearance.
The exterior walls of this project act as a subtle nod to Singapore’s landscape. Other than the larger environmental strategies of using concrete for its thermal massing properties, the outside has been designed to have the topographical map of Singapore’s terrain, giving it texture and a three-dimensional effect. The colour of the building also lends itself to the natural appearance of the concrete, for which more than a hundred shades of deep-red, purple, and brown were tested under the Singaporean sun.
The interiors of the project keep the natural elements of the surroundings in focus, allowing them to create a more vibrant inner space. The use of organic materials allow the natural imperfections to be celebrated rather than covered up. The central living space is resplendent with natural light and also allows for residents to customise their spaces according to their own interests. The outdoor spaces flow seamlessly from the interior and under the shade of a specially curated planting system and the intelligent positioning of the balconies above. The bathrooms contain baths, vanity units, and sinks that have been custom designed by Heatherwick Studios using a luxurious but limited palette of materials.
The ground level continues with the studio’s vision of leaning into the natural setting around the project, complete with specially commissioned Spun chairs made of polished granite and a deeper green colour of ceramic tiles used for the pool to create a lake-like effect. These elements aid in the naturalised feeling of being within greenery with a sophistication that can be seen in the studio’s attention to the city’s essence.
(Text by Shreeparna Chatterjee, editorial trainee at stirworld.com)