Downtown East was first developed in 1986, and has seen several sporadic additions over the years which resulted in a lack of cohesiveness of the overall development. The new master plan seeks to integrate and update existing amenities and extend new areas to create a comprehensive and harmonious development with a sense of place and identity. The objective of the new Downtown East master plan has a three-pronged approach of Engagement, Universality and Sustainability. The revitalised and integrated development will provide a variety of venues of different scales and settings for a wide range of community engagement opportunities. These venues and amenities will be designed with a conscious understanding of the needs of all demographics in terms of affordability for the masses as well as universal access for all potential users. The master plan also takes into consideration three key aspects of sustainability: environmental, economic and social sustainability.
The master plan zoning consists of four main nodes – the E-hub; the Members, Union and Community Engagement (MUCE) facilities; the Wild Wild Wet theme park and the Costa Sands Downtown East Resort – with the nodes connected across the site via a new pedestrian network.
In particular, Wild Wild Wet will see a doubling of land area, with four additional rides, and is set to become the heart of the new Downtown East. Costa Sands will also have brand new chalets and more amenities for resort guests.
On the macro level, a main north-south planning axis is established after accounting for existing components that were to be retained from the client’s brief. Major elements and zones were then oriented along this main axis, defining the main circulation system and view corridors linking up the various elements within the site, which helps visitors to easily orientate themselves in this extensive development. Dedicated drop-offs planned for the different components serve to create a sense of arrival for visitors, as well as to divert the potential heavy numbers to manageable levels. This reorganisation of pedestrian and vehicular circulation ties together the disparate components under a coherent master plan while allowing for the unique expression of each part.
The master plan also considers the site context where the surrounding developments are primarily residential, with the developments north of Pasir Ris Drive 3 being low to medium-rise, and the high-rise developments located towards the south. The new large MUCE centre will be situated along Pasir Ris Drive 3 to form a strong urban front with the existing E-hub. Further up north, facing Pasir Ris Park and Beach, will be the new Costa Sands chalets. This allows the chalets, which are multi-storeyed to minimise the building footprint for greater conservation of existing trees, to also have views towards the mangroves of Sungei Tampines at the west.
The richness of site opportunities gives rise to the design of a wide range of environments within the development. Other design strategies aim to make the development as inclusive as possible, by creating an elevated all-weather landscape deck at the second storey which promotes safe and pleasant pedestrian conditions by separating the human and vehicular traffic flows. This landscape deck is also connected to the first storey via gently sloping ramps, keeping to the tenets of universal design.
With a consistent focus on providing affordable family-oriented activities in a resort-style setting, the enhancements to the infrastructure, new clarity of the circulation networks and improved amenities to cater to increasing demands, the new Downtown East will be the leisure destination of choice for Singaporeans.