Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit Station

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Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit Station
Bras Basah Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Station was commissioned through the Marina Line Architectural Design Competition jointly organized by the Singapore Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Institute of Architects. The open, anonymous international competition, requiring no track record is acknowledged by the industry as one of the best run competitions held in Singapore to date. The Land Transport Authority continued their commitment to design throughout the design development and construction phases. Bras Basah MRT station is an underground train station in the heart of the historic Civic District in Singapore. With a single strategy, the design resolves two conflicting requirements – the very deep station required a visual connection to the exterior to enhance the travel experience for the commuters; while the historic district and park location required a station that disappeared into the landscape. The strategy developed was to create a station roof that doubles up as a skylight and landscape element – a water filled glass skylight. Viewed from the park, it is a reflection pool, from the station platform, it is an immense skylight. The design creates delight for both the commuter and visitor to the civic district. The watergarden reflects the historic buildings, increasing their stature and symbolic importance. The station was placed on axis with the classical designs of the Art Museum and creates a civic forecourt to the museum, cathedral and library of the Singapore Management University. The skylight brings light and views deep into the ground, turning a potentially oppressive, labyrinth experience into a clear, direct and exciting journey from the earth to the surface. The visual connection is also important to avoid panic in the case of an emergency underground, with commuters easily seeing how to exit the station. The watergarden incorporates printed sunshading stickers that provide information about the cultural activities in the surrounding district, using the sunlight to project them onto the canyon walls and creating a rippling, ever-changing graphic effect as the sun moves across the sky. All the ventilation shafts are concealed within recessed landscape elements, avoiding any blocking of view lines across the site to the surrounding civic buildings. Landscaped buffer zones prevent exhaust air from the tunnels disturbing passers by. The station complies with Singapore’s strict thermal transmission regulations with a combination of ceramic frits and multiple layers of glass. The water film circulates over the glass, carrying away the heat that rises to the top of the canyon, and releasing it in evaporative cooling as it tumbles over waterfall walls. The natural light permits the station to be used during the day without artificial lighting. The design is a unique solution, using infrastructure to enhance civic qualities of both the historic buildings and the public spaces in the area. The design creates value for commuters, locals and tourists, giving a true heart to the civic district.


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