TREELODGE @ PUNGGOL The Design Agenda Exemplifying Singapore’s aim to be part of the global efforts for a more sustainable future, TreeLodge @ Punggol is Singapore’s first public housing project to actively promote green building in all new constructions. The developer is the Housing & Development Board of Singapore (HDB). As the public housing authority of Singapore and housing more than 80% of the country’s population, it strives to provide affordable yet quality home/living environment and prioritise to build cohesive communities in support of national objectives like racial harmony. Thus in line with the government’s initiative, Tree-Lodge is HDB’s pilot eco-precinct aiming to demonstrate to the industry a sustainable and liveable high-rise high-density public housing that can be practical, maintainable and cost-effective while achieving a green lifestyle for its residents. The Green Design Approach Understanding the above aims, the project attempts to achieve a greener and healthier high-rise high-density living environment for building communities by striking a balance between sensibly addressing pragmatic needs, social needs, economic issues, and sensitively responding to planning/site constraints with the adoption and optimisation of passive planning and architectural design strategies, enhanced by appropriate green technologies, throughout all stages of the building lifecyle. The Design Concept Faced with the challenge of how building development always take away greenery, we look towards the tropical eco-systems for clues. The design concept is inspired by the symbiotic relationship of the tree truck with fungi. Tropical green is being raised and brought up from the ground to the high-rise residential blocks, creating layers of shaded micro-climate for outdoor communal spaces as well as allowing the residents to enjoy their personal slice of green from individual homes. The Urban Response The residents of the development are well served by public transport – Train stations linking to the island wide mass-rapid transit system and the local light rail transit system, as well as the bus interchange and bus-stops are all within short walking distance. Amenities like schools, supermarkets, shops, food courts, community club, as well as the upcoming town centre and town park can also be reached within a stone’s throw via strolling and bicycling. Such connectedness and walkability of the compact high-rise high-density development creates sustainable green living. The site is linear and fairly narrow and long, with special height control. Seven 16-storey blocks, orientated slightly off north-south, were thus laid along the perimeter of site. This strategy maximises distance between the overlapping blocks, optimises air and light flow, and minimises east/west sun exposure thus reducing heat gain while achieving the minimum development build-up required and at the same time strengthening the existing urban edges. Optimal gaps between blocks further provide visual and physical connectivity/ porosity to the adjacent developments while encouraging breeze permeability. Utilising the idea of a raised landscaped deck with podium carpark (minimal carparking) below, well-integrated vehicular/service driveways is segregated from the communal spaces above with minimal interruption to pedestrian traffic flow from the development to the surroundings, and together with corner entrance plazas, provides seamless connectivity to transport and amenity nodes. The podium carpark is partially earth filled along the edges, thus enhancing the streetscape with lush landscaping to conceal the disamenity. Greenery and communal spaces then takes place at the landscape deck above, providing green relief within the high density living environment, while providing barrier-free connection between the semi-public landscape deck to the public common green, linking up with the local green network and extending the adjacent common green. The Landscape Deck Naturally ventilated car-parking with services such as waste disposal and fire-engine access tucked at the podium level creates vehicular-free spaces at the landscape deck above for a vast sanctuary of lushly landscaped communal amenities, thus achieving good organisation of vehicular and pedestrian circulation while using up less resources as compared to a basement carpark. Open air and sheltered activity areas like the children’s playground, outdoor fitness gym for the elderly and adults, community garden and precinct pavilion nestled between the blocks. They are strategically placed to take advantage of the shadows cast by the residential blocks while linked up via the green spine - a lushly greened and comfortably shaded trellised walk, encouraging community interaction. Greening occurs at different levels. Voids created on the landscape deck allows trees to emerge from true ground while a hybrid system of heavy-weight soil tree planters and light-weight substrate shrub planters on the landscape deck, strategically divided into two levels, allows the carpark to be well-ventilated while not compromising on greening intensity of the residential environment. Vertical greening via a system of light cables recalls the organic growth of nature, while allowing ease of maintenance. The Block Designed like a point block with clusters of two/flour units anchored around a central lift/service core, the residents are able to enjoy utmost exclusivity. Through a mix and match process, there are just three different unit clusters forming two different block types, achieving high buildability. Minimising heat gain through the façade lead to a preferred window wall ratio which brought about interplay of prefabricated façade elements like planters and balconies which recalled the rhythm of fungi growth in nature. Centralised refuse chute for recyclable wastes provided at each residential block, encourages residents’ recycling at their door-step, while easing the task of collection by the refuse collector. On the roof decks, rainwater is harvested for common area washing while solar energy is harnessed for common area lighting. The Unit In line with the design concept, a variety of unit types with different combinations of green planters and balconies are re-introduced into the public housing context to suit the diverse lifestyles of the residents. Opportunity was also taken to create the ‘Loft’ units - a double-storey unit with double volume void over the living area with a rooftop terrace as courtyard at the centre of the unit - by taking advantage of roof top areas not occupied by water tank. More daylight and ventilation are brought into the unit and created opportunities for green to be enjoyed from most rooms.


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