NEX Central Shopping Mall was conceived as a confluence of excitement and recreation, incorporating 80,000 sqm of retail spaces housed together with the Serangoon MRT Interchange and the new Serangoon bus interchange. Due to its sheer size, the mall has a tremendous urban impact, and will directly affect a large working and visitor population. Serangoon Central is currently a dense residential estate with limited greenery. Hence the mall is also an opportunity to introduce a substantial amount of landscaped spaces throughout the shopping mall. Not only will they provide a respite for the shoppers, they will also act as a green lung to the region. With about a million square feet of built up area spread over a long site, the building inevitably tends towards unpleasant massiveness or inconsistency. To avoid these pitfalls, the concept of a ‘green necklace’ was used to both break down its urban scale as well as to provide a datum to various parts of the mall. The ‘green necklace’ is made up of a series of landscaped public spaces with changing atmospheres and characters to inject interest and highlights throughout the mall. The Sunken Plaza, Urban Walk, Gateway Plaza, Sky Terrace, Roof Terrace, Roof Garden, Courtyard Garden and a vertical green wall are strung together to provide both ecological sustainability and an ever-changing retail landscape as one traverses through the mall. The effect of the ‘green necklace’ is evident in both the interior and exterior of the building. While this green link serves to unify the building, it also introduces a feature to every shopping floor. Externally, the facade design takes on an articulated form which is derived from the economics of retail planning and functionality. Here, a good understanding and interpretation of the nature and demands of the client’s business have given birth to the aesthetics of the architecture.
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