LIVING IN A CITY IN A GARDEN LIVING IN A GARDEN IN A CITY Singapore"an island of just 710 square kilometres with a growing 4.9 million population" projects herself as city in a garden, no mean feat, since most Singaporeans live in high-rise public housing while others live in low-rise enclaves or condominiums where ratios of total floor area to site area range from 1.4 to 2.8. These pressures of high density are overcome in Botannia by crafting an environment for living in a park-like surrounding. The client’s brief of apartment type and total area was achieved with 493 apartments, but instead of deploying a typical solution of high towers where residents are distanced from the landscape, we created the slab-cluster massing. Adaptable like a bracelet, the slab-cluster shifts and rotates subtly so each unit can face strategic views of the open fields and reservoir, while maintaining a generous distance from the neighbouring buildings. To harmonise the multitude of apartments without a stultifying homogenous facade, we devised a modular formwork which creates non repetitive permutations of facade elements, defining individual character for each unit while being practical to construct. At the centre of Botannia, a landscape large as a park in itself roofs the parking below inconspicuously. It is a living deck where lush planting meets water features, where architecture and landscape design reinforce each other: connecting pathways are metaphorical incisions into the land and cascading waters syntonise with the verticality of facades against the ground. Botannia accommodates the requirements of a large scale condominium without imposing a mega-structure. Conversely, upon entering, we see texture, rhythm, and reflections capturing a living landscape, endearing us with a humanely scaled environment closer to the idyll of suburbia than previously expected in Singapore’s dense masterplan.


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