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MICA (P) 113/08/2013



Vo l u m e 4 N u m b e r 3 , 2 0 1 3 , S i n g a p o re

CONTENTS Letter from the Guest Editor

The latest happenings in DP

DP launches bilingual Design in Print Knowledge sharing

Dear Readers, It often strikes me that having been founded within a year or two of Singapore’s independence, DP Architects has grown in sophistication and capability in parallel with Singapore and has therefore been at the forefront of changes in the way we have approached our urban environment. In the early years, the priority was nation building, establishing the viability of a new city-state, and showing off the vibrancy and strength of early successes. Everything new was good and everything old was, well, old. It is a matter of regret that much of Singapore’s valuable colonial building stock was destroyed in the push towards modernity. It was only in the 1980s that awareness of the legacy we were in danger of losing began to dawn. A number of factors came together to prompt this change in thinking. A former senior architect at DP Architects, Peter Keys, was a tireless campaigner for conservation of our built heritage, and his articles and writings did much to raise consciousness. The 1984 publication, Singapore’s Little India: Past, Present and Future, also acted as a catalyst. Near the end of the 1980s, there was a very tangible awareness in Singapore generally and at the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and at the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board (STPB) in particular, that the loss of our built heritage had to be arrested. In 1989, at the initiative of STPB, a major conservation project was launched: the aging building of government offices at Empress Place was to be restored and converted to a world-class museum. DPA was selected as the architect for this project and became pioneers in Singapore for restoration of heritage buildings. The experience of working on this project made this an area of major interest for me, but even more of a passion for our chairman, Chan Sui Him, then the youngest director in the office, who headed the project. As a result of his passion, we have now accomplished quite a large body of work in this area, which is to be featured in a forthcoming book, due in 2015. This issue of Design in Print celebrates four of our most recent projects in the area of conservation and adaptive reuse.

Vikas M Gore Director, DP Architects Pte Ltd

Short takes on new & notable projects

01 The Seletar Mall 02 The Pines Hotel 03 BPTP Terra 04 Express Exclusive 05 Changi Clubhouse 06 Hedges Park 07 Super Brand Mall 08 Flora V 09 Blangah Rise, Radin Mas and Zhangde Primary Schools

Featured projects

Four Acres Singapore Zhongshan Park Integrated Development Freemasons’ Hall Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa

Sustainable Design

Green versus Sustainable versus Bioclimatic

Awards & events

FIABCI Prix d’Excellence 2013 Temasek Club Groundbreaking Ceremony REDAS Property Prospects Seminar River Safari wins bathroom design award

DP personalities

Interview with Loh Hai Yew & Tay Yanling

Celebration of past projects

Chan Hui Min Nartano Lim Toh Bee Ping





The Empress Place Building, 1989

Leanne Lim Leong Wei Lin

Tong Tong

Loh Yew Cheng Fu Tingting

Additional contributors: Lek Noonchoo and Jackie Poh

Cover image: Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa

| The latest happenings in DP

DP launches

bilingual Design in Print

Knowledge sharing

fosters exchange and motivates employees

The inaugural issue of the bilingual edition of DP Architects’ newsletter, Design in Print, was launched in August 2013. Intended for the firm’s clients and partners in China and other Chinesespeaking territories, the English-Chinese edition will be published four times a year, following each issue of the English-language quarterly by a month. Now in its third year, Design in Print has been receiving positive industry feedback and subscription requests since its first issue in December 2010.

Knowledge sharing, a fundamental part of DP’s culture and its commitment to continuous learning and development, has recently been enhanced with weekly sessions. The sessions cover a variety of design-related events: from presentations by design teams on their latest projects, design critique workshops, the screening of documentaries on notable architects, talks by in-house experts on topics as diverse as architecture history and BIM, and guest lectures by visiting architects including Alex Matovic, Ben van Berkel, Fumihiko Maki, and Liao Wei-Li. These knowledge-sharing forums foster the exchange of ideas and continuous innovation, allowing the firm to meet its business objectives; at the same time, they provide an inclusive platform to motivate and connect employees.

Short takes on new & notable projects

The Seletar Mall hotel





02 The Pines Hotel Singapore The Seletar Mall is a suburban family-oriented shopping mall sited within easy access to public transport and major expressways. The mall comprises a four-storey podium and two basement levels that provide an eclectic mix of retail, dining and lifestyle options. Its unique triangular-shaped design has three prominent corners clad in glass which form the entrances to the mall. A highlight of the interior is a large clerestory that perches above the four-storey atrium, allowing the clearly organised shopping circulation and voluminous atrium space to be washed with diffused natural light. Creative use of terracing floor profiles provides a sense of spatial expansion and allows interlocking F&B spaces to overlook the atrium and generate a lively environment within.

Situated at Stevens Road, a prime location near Orchard Road, The Pines club will be transformed into a 29,500sqm development that comprises a hotel, commercial facilities and a club house. The ground floor is designed as a series of organic glass restaurants sprinkled amid a flowing garden. Floating above this commercial destination is the hotel tower; this visual beacon with sweeping wings takes its form from the Chinese character ren (人), meaning person, in honour of those who built, work, dine and stay at The Pines Hotel. DP 01

Short takes on new & notable projects




The one-storey Changi Clubhouse along the Changi coast will be extended with new recreational and hospitality facilities. The development will comprise three main zones – sports, food and beverage, and hospitality – in a four-storey sports and recreation complex, a chalet block with villa clusters, and a dining hub. The new clubhouse is designed to integrate the laidback charm of Changi Village while retaining the colonial-style architecture. A key design consideration is providing respite from the tropical heat with sun-shading and good ventilation. Lush green spaces are designed within the compound to bring a sense of tranquility and create a resort-like ambience.

BPTP Terra



05 Changi Clubhouse


Located in close proximity to Dwarka Expressway, BPTP Terra will be the first eco-community in Sector 37D of Gurgaon, near Delhi. In conceptualising and designing the elevations of the residential blocks, solar analyses and shadow studies were done to optimally integrate Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPVs) into the façade.

Express Exclusive India




Various options were explored for the façade design while taking into consideration the lifestyle aspirations of future residents. These included designs that reflect the Asian cosmopolitan lifestyle, the American aesthetics of strong and bold forms, or the elegance and intricacy that are signature of European architecture. The European-style façade design was eventually chosen to align with BPTP Terra’s concept of affordable luxury.

Initially conceptualised as an extension to the existing Express Avenue shopping mall in Chennai, Express Exclusive has evolved to become a luxurious residential enclave boasting spacious units with private lifts. The development comprises three towers of different unit types and lifestyle facilities – Express Sovereign features five-bedroom duplex units with private sky pools; Express Insignia houses fourbedroom single-level units with generous balconies and sky decks; Express Signature consists of spacious threebedroom units. The unit types are designed according to Vastu Shastra principles, and all units are oriented to capture magnificent views of the Bay of Bengal.


Hedges Park Singapore

Hedges Park condominium comprises ten blocks of apartments, with the tallest at eight storeys high, a basement car park, swimming pools, clubhouse and other ancillary facilities. This 501-unit development is located at the junction of Upper Changi Road North and Flora Drive. As the site is restricted by an AMSL height of 40m, the master plan conceived a parallel series of linear blocks that are spaced to achieve maximum distance between blocks in order to maximise the views from each unit. Not only do the units enjoy vast landscape views, the parallel configuration also allows all apartments to be north or southfacing. Horizontal architectural fins on the elevation of the buildings impart a contemporary look to the development. The relatively low storey height and linear configuration create an almost ‘hedge-like’ environment, hence the name Hedges Park.


09 Blangah Rise,

Radin Mas and Zhangde Primary Schools Singapore


Super Brand Mall is a landmark situated at an iconic junction in the central business district of Pudong, Shanghai. The main challenge in the addition and alteration works is to maintain the building’s unique character by retaining most of the original stone façade, while presenting a renewed façade and a revitalised interior. Having multiple entrances at both street and upper levels, the hierarchy of circulation becomes a prime consideration. A distinctive ‘base’ for shopfronts at street level was proposed to ensure a sense of arrival. Interior circulation is reorganised to draw visitors to the less frequented areas. New façade materials include back-painted glass that adapts the original stone patterns to complement the existing façade. Entrances will be highlighted with stone portals. Digital media features will also be integrated into the mall.




Flora V

Located along Yio Chu Kang Road, Flora V comprises a 50-unit, fourstorey residential development (Flora Ville) of 3,500sqm, and a larger 8,000sqm development that houses two components – a residential component of 90 units housed within three blocks (Flora View) and a 28-unit commercial podium (Flora Vista). The collective name, Flora V, stemmed from the vision of a village atmosphere where residents can enjoy the lush natural surroundings and be part of a vibrant community. Inspired by the verdant greenery and beautiful waters of the nearby Peirce and Seletar Reservoirs, the relationship between the interior spaces and the external landscapes is highlighted in both developments. The units are strategically laid out to ensure that all residents are accessibly connected to the communal facilities.



Super Brand Mall

The three primary schools are part of the PERI upgrading programme. For Blangah Rise Primary School, a new block housing an indoor sports hall was constructed. The sports hall is complemented with ancillary facilities such as dance rooms, band rooms and a student care centre. Two new blocks were introduced at Radin Mas Primary School: a classroom block with an outdoor learning area on the thirdstorey open terrace and a block with sports-related amenities. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities are strategically located along the play field at Zhangde Primary School to create an engaging play zone for students. A new classroom extension to the existing administrative block further promotes a vibrant learning environment.

Blangah Rise Primary School

Radin Mas Primary School

Zhangde Primary School

DP 03


Featured projects

YEAR: 2013


AREA: 9,200 SQM




Situated at the heart of the 200ha one-north development hub at Buona Vista, among clusters of world-class research facilities and business parks, is the newly completed Four Acres Singapore. Perched on top of Nepal Hill and occupying a sprawling site of 2.3ha, Four Acres Singapore is global consumer goods giant Unilever’s newest leadership development facility and also Singapore’s first corporate university of this scale. Unilever – known for brands like Wall’s, Knorr, Dove and Ponds – set up its first leadership development centre in London over 60 years ago. The plan for Four Acres Singapore, the first outside of Britain, is to continue the tradition of Four Acres London. It is a campus that houses talents and trains them to be top leaders in the company. This time, though, the leaders-tobe will become more attuned to the rapidly growing and emerging Asian economies,

and high-growth developing markets as Unilever plans to double the size of its business, while halving its environmental footprint and increasing its positive social impact. Hence, it follows that Unilever’s design brief for Four Acres Singapore was to ensure that the project achieves the BCA Green Mark Platinum certification.

NESTLED IN A TREE CONSERVATION AREA, THE SITE IS THICK WITH HISTORY In terms of academic courses, worldclass institutions such as the Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Singapore Management University are some of the partners that helped develop the campus programmes.

Left: The building form

Team Members:

(standing left to right)

meanders around

(sitting left to right)

Lionel Leow,

clusters of mature

Sarah Lim,

Rogene T Saldana,

trees, respecting and

Pinson Lim,

Mary Grace Judar,

preserving the original

Tay Yanling,

Sebastian Tong,

environment as much

Loh Hai Yew,

Fahd Alsagoff,

as possible.

Yeong Weng Fai,

Aris Setiawan,

Tan Sze Wei,

Yong Chin Hwei & Zaldy Andaya.

DP 05


Featured projects

A LOCATION STEEPED IN HISTORY Nestled in a tree conservation area, the site is thick with history. Other than the newly proposed four-storey training block and a single-storey recreation block, there are ten conserved black-and-white colonial bungalows within the compound – this provided an interesting historical backdrop to the proposed buildings that were eventually erected.

Above & right: The conserved bungalows have been refurbished while keeping the colonial character of the premises intact.

A check on the Urban Redevelopment Authority website on the local built heritage reveals that Nepal Hill and the adjacent Rochester Park were developed by the British in the late 1930s within the greater British Military Area (the Alexandra district) to house officers and their families. Nepal Hill was named in recognition of the British Crown’s ties with the sovereign country of Nepal. The Gurkha regiment in Singapore, led by British officers, were stationed in Slim Barracks at the foot of the hill. The Gurkhas, recruited from Nepal, were famed for their fighting prowess and their loyalty to the British Crown. The bungalows at Nepal Hill served as family accommodation for the British officers of the regiment. The area was given conservation status in March 2010. Today, top leaders from Unilever companies all over the world are being housed within these conserved buildings during their training programmes. Nine out of ten conserved bungalows have been refurbished for adaptive reuse as on-site accommodation; the remaining

Right: Trees felled on site are made into outdoor furniture and placed within the compound for all to enjoy.

has been retrofitted to become a cafeteria, providing an alternative venue to the seminar rooms for discussions among the participants. SITE-SPECIFIC AND RESPECTFUL DESIGN Nepal Hill is preserved as a major green lung central to the surrounding research facilities and business parks, as envisioned in Zaha Hadid’s one-north master plan. Hence, in the overall planning strategy of the development, it was crucial that the existing mature trees and flora were preserved as much as possible to keep the original wooded environment as it was. The U-shaped form of the training centre demonstrates the environmental consciousness of the design: the building form attempts to fit within the existing clearing, meandering around clusters of mature trees along its way and working its path around the flora. The result is a unique shape that is site-specific and respectful of the natural surroundings. Characterised by the unique and expressive roofscape within the master plan, the design of the buildings within Four Acres Singapore not only responds to the spirit of the master plan in its treatment of the roof form, the dynamic roof of the training centre also responds to the undulating contours of Nepal Hill. The architecture appears to peel gently from the earth.

THE INTERLOCKING RELATIONSHIP OF THE NEW BUILDINGS FORMS AN INTRIGUING PICTURE AS THE ROOF OF ONE BUILDING TRANSFORMS AND TRANSITS INTO THAT OF THE OTHER The design of the new built structures demonstrates the unique relationship of the two buildings by interconnecting them together. The four-storey training block and single-storey recreation block are both independent and separate entities, yet intertwined. The design arranged for the bold gesture of the roof form at the training centre to sweep down and extend towards the adjacent recreation block. The architectural element transits and morphs to become the canopy of a footpath, and then transforms again to become a roof when it integrates with the recreation block. Visually, it forms an intriguing picture as the roof of one building transforms and transits into that of the other. Moving beyond aesthetics, this interlocking relationship of building forms allows for a more utilitarian arrangement in services planning.

Above: Designed around the inner courtyard of the new training block is a glass skylight providing natural lighting to the space below. Right: The ten conserved bungalows are linked up by an existing U-shaped road and a new nature trail designed for leisurely walks in the evening.



80m DP 07


Featured projects

Bridging the two independent buildings, the roof not only becomes a covered linkway between them, it also becomes an important infrastructure where electrical and mechanical provisions are transported from the main building to serve the recreation block. The façade design of the new training centre pays tribute to its unique environment by incorporating colours and materials that respect the conserved bungalows. The training centre also has a full green roof which not only reduces heat gain for its interiors, but also acts as a green replacement for the building’s footprint. Throughout the space planning for the training centre, the view into nature was capitalised at every turn. All seminar rooms were planned with a view either to the garden or the wooded

environment. There is also the Harvard University-style amphitheatre at the second storey, which has been designed with an entire stretch of full-height glass windows at the back of the room. These rooms are basked in light at most times of the day, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting. The toilets within the training centre were also sensitively designed to the same intent, with full-height glass windows that allow users to enjoy the stunning views of the greenery around the site. Due to the natural topography of the site, half of the training centre’s first storey is at subterranean level. To be consistent with the central theme and not create an environment that is very introverted, skylights were introduced along the main interior circulation paths. In addition, the team designed a light


Left: Due to the natural hilly topography of the site, half of the training centre’s first storey is at subterranean level. Far left: The Harvard University-style amphitheatre is designed with an entire stretch of full-height glass windows to allow natural light to filter into the space.

Left: The northeastern elevation of the training block that faces the main road has been designed differently. The undulating glass façade and planter strips correspond to this context, reflecting the dynamism of traffic movement experienced along this part of the site.

Above: All the interior spaces are planned with either views of the garden or the wooded environment. Left: A cluster of sculptured trees at the centre of a light shaft extends beyond the first storey and into the external garden space above.

shaft that channels natural light down to the underground level. At the same time, a cluster of sculptured trees at the centre of the light shaft provides greenery within the space. As the trees grow and extend beyond the first storey and into the external garden space at the second storey, the line between indoors and outdoors is blurred further. The overall design strategy for Four Acres Singapore is simple – to respect the environment that it is sited in. The clarity of the circulation paths for pedestrian and vehicular access is distinct. The participant on the rush in the morning can take the direct stairway connection through the recreation block to the training centre; in the evening, he can take a leisurely walk along the planned nature trail back to his black-andwhite bungalow. The charm of the heritage bungalows is maintained both at the exterior and interior; the design of the guestrooms resonates with the architectural expression of these elegant vestiges of Singapore’s colonial past. DP 09


Featured projects



Located at Balestier Road and adjacent to the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, the integrated development at Zhongshan Park offers unique opportunities to rejuvenate the Balestier conservation area in Singapore, reinforcing the memorial hall’s significance while simultaneously creating new activities through mixed-use additions. This 39,100sqm mixed-use development comprises a shopping mall, a commercial tower and two hotels within a park. It is the first development within a park in Singapore. The starting point of the design was to create an unobstructed view corridor towards the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. The memorial hall is a heritage institution housed in a repurposed colonial bungalow, dating back to 1901, which traces Dr Sun’s revolutionary activities in the Southeast Asian region. The design team moulded the identity of the place by distilling the components down to the diagrammatic understanding of nodes, paths and edges.

Visitors arrive at Zhongshan Park by bus or car at the vehicular drop-off, which leads to the arrival plaza on the south side. The plaza greets visitors with a series of reflective water features and colourful flowering trees. Influenced by a concept from traditional Chinese gardens called changlang (长廊), or a long covered corridor that links important spaces, the development boasts a winding path that shapes the rhythm and flow of visitors. It wraps the periphery of the podium and leads to the event space. As they proceed, the visitors come upon several framed perspectival views that are reinforced with the placement of vertical screens. Nodes along the way are defined by lattice patterns inspired by traditional Chinese garden features. Every scene is well orchestrated as an experiential activity. The rhythm of one’s steps changes and slows down in response to different placement of the scenes. A diverse collection of public spaces is generated along the view corridor. The courtyards and main seating areas are organised around two

Courtesy of Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore

Top: Overview of Zhongshan Park integrated development, which features a shopping mall, a commercial tower and two hotels within a park. Left: A series of reflective water features at the arrival plaza form a vibrant transition between the hardscape on the south and the pockets of green spaces just across from the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

YEAR: 2013

preserved Banyan trees. The water features form a vibrant transition between the hardscape on the south and the pockets of green spaces just across from the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall. The event space on the north side opens up to the memorial hall. It offers public spaces for use in many different ways, such as festivals and events. In this way, public space and landscape merge in an intimate reciprocal relationship that creates juxtaposition between a direct axial view and a meandering promenade through an architectural space. To preserve the character and scale of the neighbourhood, the frontage along Balestier Road accommodates the height of the low-rise shophouses. The interlocking layers of glass faรงade and stone-cladding are an interesting reinterpretation of the distinctive


AREA: 39,100 SQM



mixed urban fabric of the new and old shophouses in the area. Bamboo-inspired screens not only function as partition for the glazed podium faรงades, but also exemplify the strong and resilient personality of Dr Sun Yat Sen. The commercial and hotel towers take on clean, contemporary forms clad in glass, and the reflective glass faรงades create a constant sense of movement of the sky and clouds, giving the faรงade a dynamic appearance through reflectivity with its surroundings. The design of the Zhongshan Park integrated development draws references and connections not only from elements in traditional Chinese gardens and regional culture, but also from the rich history of the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall.

Team Members: (left to right) Kazi Nayeb-Ul-Ahad, Ihwan Noor, Adiansyah Ahmad,

Ho Siong Teck, Wu Tzu Chiang, Pulvy Iskandar, Suneeth Changaroth & Dadi Surya.

Christopher Heng,

DP 11


Featured projects

Built in 1879, Freemasons’ Hall on Coleman Street has been the meeting place for Freemasons in Singapore for over 120 years. Outgrowing its facilities, the headquarters had undergone several expansions in the past. By tracing the chronological development of Freemasons’ Hall, the design team’s aim was to develop a proposal that preserved the layers of history. The existing two-storey building comprises a restaurant and a bar on the ground storey, and two assembly halls and a museum on the second storey. The refurbishment incorporates the existing structure as well as expanding it to further include offices, a kitchen, and function and meeting rooms in a threestorey rear extension.

The design team believed that the aim of restoration was not just for aesthetic conservation, but also to preserve and reframe the rich heritage of the different historical periods in today’s contemporary context. Importantly, the history had to be maintained and respected while the building was revitalised to meet current needs. Thus, an important part of the scheme was the preservation of the side verandas. Even though they were not part of the original building in 1879, the verandas have been a recognisable feature in the memory of the Freemasons for over 90 years. The concept design envisioned two transparent wings physically connected but seemingly detached from the original structure. Hence, new wings with pronounced recessions at the intersection were created.

The new extension, similar in height to the existing structure, connects to the old building via a link bridge on the second storey and through a new extended basement. The rear extension is sympathetic to the scale of the existing buildings. To ensure the preserved building becomes the focus, the new structure was designed as a secondary backdrop and wrapped in tinted glass. A radical departure from the heavy shell of the original structure, it is light and transparent. An open-air void between the old and the new structure continues from the courtyard to the top of the building, bringing daylight into the courtyard. The transitional space creates an

YEAR: 2012


AREA: 27,800 SQM





By Tong Tong


exceptional moment in the complex, celebrating the imprints of different periods, and at the same time draws attention to the juxtaposition of the new and old structures. The reconstruction of the conserved building took cues from the original fabric. The important historical elements on the façade, such as concealed mouldings, columns and capitols, circular and semi-circular windows, were retained to display the building’s rich and varied history. Thus, the final façade of Freemasons’ Hall is composed of elements dating from different periods, serving as a juxtaposition of styles combined with the continuity of usage for more than a century.

Uniting the old and new into a coherent landmark, the design team fully utilised the existing spatial quality with as little change as possible to the built form while revitalising the building for modern use. The aesthetic intention was not to impose a modern architectural intervention, but rather, to recreate and reveal imprints of the pasts by using contemporary architecture as a contrast to heighten the historical elements. In this way, the new building envelope remains highly contextual. The architectural synthesis gives people a sense of continuity and permanence in built form, while being programmatically refreshed to ensure that it remains relevant for many more years to come.

Team Members:

(standing left to right)

(sitting left to right)

Sebastian Tong,

Pinson Lim,

Jeremy Tan &

Mary Grace Judar,

Lionel Leow.

Sarah Lim, Yong Chin Hwei,

DP 13


Featured projects

Mövenpick Heritage Hotel is the result of a sensitive and dedicated conservation of two three-storey pre-war buildings located on Sentosa island. The compound has a rich heritage of housing military forces: being part of an existing military barracks built in 1940, it also held the distinction of housing the First Malay Artillery Regiment of Singapore. The client challenged the design team to celebrate the heritage of the site and create a unique hospitality experience befitting the stature of the Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts group. The design team delved deep into the historical heritage of Singapore and its rich colonial history to imbue the hotel with a mix of tradition and modernity.

“THE DESIGN CAN BE DESCRIBED AS AN EVOCATIVE PROVOCATION OF THE SENSES.” - Jeremy Tan, Director Beginning with the architecture, heritage doors were given new life, and ventilation grilles were restored and used to conceal services. Space planning was creatively thought through to bring back the communal atmosphere of the colonial barracks by creating an uninterrupted flow of space throughout the food and beverage areas at the first storey. Tablescape, the all-day-dining restaurant, has low partitions that dichotomise the dining experience, offering terrace views for families and pool-front dining with cosy, romantic booths. The design featuring colonial pillars, greenery and sculpted stone is a blend of hardscape and softscape; tradition and modernity. The combination of the function rooms, The WoW whiskey bar at the East Wing and Tablescape at the West Wing creates an eclectic dining experience for guests and visitors. The sprawling function rooms spill over through the veranda onto the Merlion Terrace, and can be easily reconfigured for an intimate bespoke dining experience with a show-kitchen to business seminars or banquet settings. The whiskey bar is also perfect for casual brunches over the large wooden table, honed from a singular native tree trunk. Vintage bicycle chairs that recapture a bygone era are displayed at the entrance and galleria. The former link between the two barracks is revitalised into a breathtaking triple-volume space framed by cleverly designed lattice patterns inspired by rice grains, a local and regional staple. These patterns are brought through to the linkway galleria where light percolates through the screens, creating a soft, dappled effect. Attention to detail was a key contributor to the success of the interior design. With the imagery of visiting or staying at a favourite relative’s manor house in mind, the designers projected themselves as potential residents, and attempted to recreate a sensory experience redolent

Team Members: (sitting left to right) Loh Hai Yew, Jeremy Tan, Yong Chin Hwei, (standing left to right) Stephany How, Goh Jen Ping, Jessica Chow, Aloysius Lian & Fahd Alsagoff. Photos courtesy of Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa

YEAR: 2012


AREA: 13,200 SQM




DP 15


Featured projects

of luxurious lifestyles of the 1940s. Conveying timely elegance in the language of our forefathers, artefacts of our rich local heritage were introduced to enchant guests with sentimentality and familiarity. The same design approach is manifested in unique room types to charm returning guests with the novelty of sleeping in a different room every time they visit. The floor joists of old tropical houses were introduced as ceiling rafters in the living area to echo shophouse designs of the past. The conservation doors separate the living and sleeping areas, and also create a sense of progression from the bedroom to dressing area to the bathroom. The alignment of the balcony glass respects the colonial façade while keeping the elements and the bustling noises at bay. For the interior furnishings, the focus was on handicraft as a means of expression. The designers chose to reinterpret patchwork blankets from our grandmothers’ time into the design for the headboard, which also doubles as acoustic paneling. The artwork also took cues from the traditional Chinese coin design, emerging as a modern take on the traditional.

First storey plan showing the heritage wing – the flexibility of the public area layout affords the ease of reconfiguration for different functions.




Left: The pool is nestled between the contemporary and heritage wings where guests can appreciate the juxtaposition of the modern façade against the colonial stateliness of the heritage wing. Below left: The room interiors focus on creating a cosy environment with a warm colour palette and choice of soft furnishings and accessories.

Coupled with the cannily selected furniture, the atmosphere is one of cosiness and nostalgia. Additional touches include thoughtful details such as dim sum carriers for toiletries, mossframed mirrors that bring the verdant green into the interior, and antique phones and accessories scattered throughout the property. Old rustic roof tiles were reinvented as room signage, and the corridor carpet pattern was inspired by intricate batik designs. The design direction was carried through from concept to implementation right up to the interior staging, as well as colour schemes for the day-to-day operation of the hotel. Selection of plants for display throughout the hotel was also given special attention, where the designers eschewed the typical stately centrepiece arrangements, but instead chose hardy, backyard garden variety of local plants in cluster settings, much like how the mistress of the house would do in the past.

Top: Evening view of the hotel entrance


– the exterior lighting celebrates and enhances the grandness of the colonial architecture. Above & left: Little touches of whimsy, such as upturned smoke glasses reminiscent of kerosene lamps of

Overall, the Mövenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa experience is about celebrating the genius loci, weaving context and culture to create a sense of the familiar for the relaxation and enjoyment of its guests.

the past, enhance the atmosphere of the hotel’s dining spaces.

DP 17


Sustainable Design

Green versus Sustainable versus Bioclimatic By Suraksha Bhatla

The traditional Malay house raised on wooden

Veranda typology with lightweight timber deck

East and west-oriented verandas act as

posts to protect against monsoon flooding

raised on masonry piers

thermal buffers






Rectangular plan; thatched roof replaced by tiled roof Tudor-style; basic form with timber-framed structure is retained

Often the lines are blurred in regard to the disparity between the terms ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘bioclimatic’. The dissemblance is purely a measure of the means by which the intended low-impact design is achieved. While going ‘green’ merely refers to the active technology that the building uses to mitigate incontinent consumption, being ‘sustainable’ exemplifies the need ‘to reap what you sow’, thereby closing the cyclic consumption loop. On the other hand, ‘bioclimatic’ defines the relations of climate and living matter. Bioclimatic or environmental design epitomises varying degrees of climatic responsiveness through the use of passive techniques and elements to reduce demand as the initial act. As the byword goes, it’s not easy being green. This is often quoted by industry professionals and holds true, given the fact that the cost is directly proportional to the paucity in the integration of passive strategies during infancy (massing, layout, orientation, form, window placement, shading, etc). A true green approach should devise for demand reduction rather than assembling a kit of parts to regulate demand. Early passive environments balanced thermal expectations with the environment, understanding fully well that architecture and environment are inextricably linked. The heritage Tudor revival black-and-white houses of this island’s colonial past is a bioclimatic precedent for the tropical monsoon climate. Large overhanging eaves held by Corinthian columns, extend from the pyramidal roof over the façade, sheltering it from harsh

sun and torrential rain. Typical Anglo-Malay bungalows were elevated six feet off the ground on masonry piers to prevent floodwater and insects. This elevation capacitated the large windows to catch prevailing winds that permeated through the free flowing layout, keeping the spaces cool and breezy. The pitched roof draws hot air from within the house that is dispersed by lateral vents. Another interesting aspect of this Asian vernacular was its masonry base with upper timber portion. During daytime, when temperatures are high, occupants used the ground floor spaces that were enclosed by thermally massive walls designed to kept heat out due to thermal lag. While the lightweight structure heated up during day, at night it would quickly purge the heat gained, providing thermal comfort for first-floor bedroom occupants. The most striking feature of the house is its broad verandas. Wrapped on all four sides and serving its primary aim to protect the core, it buffers and postures as an environmental modifier that simultaneously

enriches placemaking and encourages semitransitional tropical veranda living. Many might argue that common passive cooling strategies are difficult to achieve, given Singapore’s climatic impediments such as high radiation, low wind speeds, high relative humidity, torrential rainfall, small diurnal variations and high soil temperature, thereby testifying the benefits of maintaining 24C to 26C indoor temperatures. Contradictory to this, lessons learnt from our heritage show that passive design is social, climatic and architecturally intuitive, and can be cost free. Green thinking in Singapore has now become the universal adoption of efficient air-conditioning and technological features alike. Unlike our predecessors, are we denying ourselves the choice to bioclimatically adapt by imposing the uniform? The columnist is an architect turned sustainability consultant. She is passionate about the sustainability agenda and has authored publications on research in tropical passive design.

Large eaves protect from wind-driven rain Cross ventilation East, 10am Stack ventilation

Stack ventilation

West, 4pm

Veranda serves as

Veranda serves as

shade and thermal

shade and thermal




Awards & events

Three DPA projects win

FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Three DP Architects projects have been awarded the prestigious FIABCI Prix d’Excellence award, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the property world’. Grand Park Orchard and Sandy Island, a collaboration with Claudio Silvestrin Architects, have been named Gold Winners in the hotel and low-rise residential categories, respectively. Novena Lifestyle and Medical Hub – which comprises two seamlessly connected developments, Square 2 with Novena Medical Center and Oasia Hotel with Novena Specialist Center – has been recognised in the Specialized Project (Purpose Built) category. Photo courtesy of REDAS

Left: Grand Park Orchard features

DPA shares design thoughts at

308 luxurious rooms

REDAS property seminar DP Architects associate director Seah Chee Huang was an invited speaker at the Property Prospects Seminar held at Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel on 30 July 2013. Organised by the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore, this is the first time that topics on design and construction were introduced at the seminar. Mr Seah spoke on innovative urban solutions in building design and, using case studies, shared DPA’s experience with the 300-strong audience. Other speakers at the full-day seminar include experts from the real estate, construction and finance industry.

Temasek Club breaks ground Temasek Club held the groundbreaking ceremony for its new clubhouse at Rifle Range Road on 12 September 2013. Dating back to the 1860s, the club originated as a home for soldiers and now serves as a recreational sanctuary for members comprising SAF regulars, NSF and NS officers. At the event, DP Architects Deputy CEO Angelene Chan, the project director, presented the design of the new clubhouse which takes advantage of the lush natural setting of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and integrates the traditions and aspirations symbolised by the club’s lion head emblem. The new clubhouse is expected to open in the middle of 2015.

and suites, and a metropolitan sky bar with a stunning pool.

River Safari wins bathroom design award River Safari has been conferred the SIA-Rigel Bathroom Design Award. In its inaugural year, the awards were established to encourage innovative and intelligent bathroom design. River Safari’s design approach of knitting together architecture and landscape was reiterated in the bathroom design. The bathrooms within the entire development were designed as semi-outdoor spaces with a focus on detailing. Distinctive design elements such as natural greenery and skylight with trellis give the bathroom interiors an identity, and at the same time foster the interplay between openness and privacy. Semi-outdoor bathrooms at River Safari’s Entrance Plaza (above right) and Amazon River Quest (right).

DP 19


DP personalities

HAI YEW & YANLING An interview with

IN PERSON celebrates the firm’s diversity by profiling members of the DP family. The interview is conducted as a casual conversation between individuals. Associate director Loh Hai Yew and associate Tay Yanling have worked on notable conservation projects including Hotel Fort Canning, Mövenpick Heritage Hotel, The Fullerton Heritage and Four Acres Singapore. They share with Design in Print their love for heritage buildings and their experience working on them. Interview by Leanne Lim

Share with us a memorable episode from your experience of working on heritage projects. HY: Every building has its own unique history. Investigating the history is very important, or you won’t have a clue how to restore a heritage building in a befitting manner. Additionally, knowing the original use of the spaces also gives us ideas on how to zone and theme the interiors, and how to adapt them for new uses. While working on the conservation of Hotel Fort Canning, we learnt that artefacts from the 14th to 19th century had been unearthed at Fort Canning Park. One day, as we were inspecting the building’s structural integrity, we noticed holes that were dug in the ground. At that moment we had a brainwave to display archaeological artefacts in the hotel. A collection is now embedded in four glass-covered archaeological pits set into the lobby floor.

“Investigating the history is very important, or you won’t have a clue how to restore a heritage building in a befitting manner.”

- Hai Yew

YL: My first conservation project was Clifford Pier and Customs House for the Fullerton Heritage development. My team had the opportunity to work closely with a conservation specialist, Mrs Chan Yew Lih. She taught us a lot about conservation: the process of investigation, the different restoration methods, paint analysis, sending samples to labs, the different ways to treat new and old buildings, etc. One of the most memorable discoveries involved revealing the various layers of paint on the columns of Clifford Pier using a waterjet. This method allows us to understand the pier’s evolution through the years. And we discovered that one of the earliest coats of paint on the columns at Clifford Pier was green!

What is the most interesting or challenging part of working on these projects?


HY: When I chance upon something that I’m unsure of, I want to dig deeper and deeper into history to find the answers. We can’t travel back in time, but what we can do is take our doubts to researchers, or examine archives and publications. Without documented proof, everything is merely speculation; it becomes a guessing game. That is a challenge in itself, trying to unearth history that nobody knows about.

YL: The most interesting part to me is designing a new building that is adjacent to a conserved structure. For the old building, it is about preservation of its original beauty. But with the new building, you can either create a new architecture that resembles the old, or design it in a contemporary manner that is immediately differentiated from the old. There are different schools of thought on this subject, but the interesting challenge to me is always how to introduce a design that lets the new building stand out while still respecting the old heritage structure.


Is there an old building that you have fond memories of? HY: Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, which has been conserved as a national monument. It stood out for its grand façade, which was influenced by the Neoclassical and Art Deco schools of architecture. When I think of railway stations, my mind conjures up the image of the four statues outside the train station that represented the four pillars of Malaya’s economy – commerce, agriculture, transport and industry. I remember many things about the station: the colourful wall murals depicting scenes from Malaya such as rubber tapping and tin mining, receiving and bidding farewell to relatives at the platform, and the eateries serving Indian-Muslim food – my favourites were definitely the potato and sardine curry puffs.

“The most interesting part is designing a new structure that is adjacent to a conserved one in a way that lets the new building stand out while still respecting the heritage structure.”

- Yanling

YL: I like buildings that show interesting adaptive reuse concepts. Three years ago, I went to Losari Spa Resort & Coffee Plantation near Semarang, Indonesia. An abandoned Dutch colonial coffee plantation, it was restored and transformed into a unique resort blending colonial, Javanese and

contemporary architecture; the coffee plantation was maintained with programmes that educate guests about the heritage site. The resort brought in an original Mayong railway structure as the reception lobby. You can see the station’s ticket office, complete with the stationmaster’s seat, an old-fashioned telephone and photographs of the old station when it was still in use. I’m captivated by the idea of historic buildings being given a new lease of life.

Tell us something about yourself that few people know about. HY: Since young, I have been very sensitive to smells, having grown up surrounded by fragrances. One was a Shanghai brand called 双妹, which means ‘two sisters’; another was

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4711, an eau de Cologne from Germany. I associate these two scents with fond childhood memories. The sense of smell is directly linked to the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotions and creativity. A whiff of a familiar scent can spark strong nostalgia in me. YL: At 25, I realised I had colour synaesthesia – this means that my brain associates numbers with colours. I associate the number 3 with blue and 4 with yellow. I remember very clearly that when I was in primary school, ‘3 plus 4 equals 7’ made perfect sense because the number 7 is green. It never occurred to me that not everyone had these colour associations. These three numbers have the most vivid colours in my mind. But only numbers have colours to me; alphabets do not.

Published by DP Architects Pte Ltd 6 Raffles Boulevard #04-100 Marina Square Singapore 039594 T: +65 6338 3988 F: +65 6337 9989 E: W: Photo Contributors: Loh Yew Cheng, Pocholo Mauricio, Prime Tambayong & Rory Daniel. All photos are credited to the mentioned photographers unless otherwise stated.

DP 21

This award-winning conservation and adaptive reuse project was commissioned by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. Thorough research revealed that at least four separate additions in 1890, 1906, 1907 and just before WWII, were made to the building which dates back to 1865. Modifications to the building fell into two categories: First was the restoration of the building’s original volumes and plan by removing the incongruous materials and elements used in previous alterations. Second was the installation of amenities, such as air conditioning, security and lifts, necessary to convert the historic building to its new use as a museum. Project Team: Chan Sui Him, Vikas M Gore, John Low and Pinson Lim

The Empress Place Building


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