The Interlace

The Interlace

Apartments
Build completed in 2013
Iwan Baan

The Interlace by OMA / Ole Scheeren

Buro Ole Scheeren as Architects

The Interlace presents a radically new approach to contemporary living in a tropical environment and is one of the largest most ambitious residential developments in Singapore’s history. Instead of following the default typology of housing in Singapore – clusters of isolated, vertical towers – the design generates an intricate network of living and social spaces integrated with the natural environment.


The vertical is turned horizontal: 31 apartment blocks, each six stories tall and 70 meters long, are stacked in hexagonal arrangements around eight large-scale open permeable courtyards. The interlocking blocks create a multitude of shared and private outdoor spaces on multiple levels.


The blocks are arranged on four main ‘Superlevels’ with three ‘peaks’ of 24 stories. Other Superlevel stacks range from 6-18 stories to form a stepped geometry, resembling the dramatic topography of a landscape more than a typical building. Multi-story openings allow light and air to weave into the architecture and through the landscape of the courtyards. The 170,000m2 development provides 1,040 affordable residential units of varying sizes, with multidirectional views over the parks, courtyards, city, and sea. Sustainability features are incorporated throughout the project through careful environmental analysis and integration of low-impact passive energy strategies.


COMMUNITY : The Interlace generates ample spaces and opportunities for social interaction and shared activities while also providing intimate spaces of privacy and quietness – simultaneously fostering a sense of community and maintaining individuality and privacy. The notion of community life within a contemporary village is emphasized throughout the project by an extensive network of communal gardens and spaces. A variety of public amenities are interwoven into the lush vegetation, offering multiple opportunities for social interaction, leisure and recreation.


Multiple swimming pools and sun decks, children’s playgrounds, barbecue areas, spa gardens, performance spaces, and other amenities are situated within landscaped areas, are integrated with the outdoors and offer a wide selection of communal activities for residents. A continuous loop around the site, which invisibly doubles as the fire truck access, provides a 1km running track and connects the ‘internal’ courtyards to the activities around the edge of the site. SPACE Eight courtyards and their individual landscape are defined as the heart of the project and form distinct spatial identities within the surrounding stacks of the building blocks.


The primary pedestrian route through the project leads residents from the main entrance through and to the courtyards as primary points of orientation and identification – you live in a courtyard, a space, rather a building or an object. Pedestrian circulation is grouped and bundled according to the density of residents around each courtyard in a central ‘connector’. A system of secondary footpaths brings residents on the most direct route from the connector to the front doors of their homes.


The unusual geometry of the hexagonally stacked building blocks creates a dramatic spatial structure. Partly resting, partly floating, the blocks hover on top of each other to form open, permeable courtyards that interconnect with one another and the surrounding landscape and city. An expressive, interlaced space emerges that connects the multiple parts of the development into an open, inclusive community.


COMPACT CORES: A system of three core types for 6, 18, and 24 stories is located at the overlap of the stacked apartment blocks. Cores typically serve 3-4 different units per floor, which provides efficient circulation without long corridors. Core lobbies are naturally lit and ventilated, bringing daylight and fresh air into common areas. Circular “mega-columns” arranged around the vertical circulation in an optimized hexagonal configuration enable the 3-way rotation of the blocks and provide a standard solution for all conditions.


AFFORDABIITY : The highly efficient system of compact cores, minimal circulation, and maximized floor area allowed the project to be realized on a budget for affordable housing, within the competitive context of Singapore’s market. NATURE A series of site specific environmental studies were carried out and evaluated (wind, solar and daylight analysis) to determine intelligent strategies for the building envelope and landscape design. Early and comprehensive incorporation of low-impact passive energy strategies allowed the project to be given Singapore’s Green Mark Gold Plus Award. All apartments receive ample levels of daylight throughout the day while the unique massing of the project provides a sufficient level of self-shading in the courtyards which helps maintain comfortable outdoor spaces year-round and continuous usage of the courtyards and their communal functions.


Water bodies have been strategically placed within defined wind corridors. This allows evaporative cooling to happen along wind paths, reducing local air temperatures and improving the thermal comfort of outdoor recreation spaces in strategic micro-climate zones. Extensive balconies and protruding terraces form a cascading vertical landscape across the facades and further connect the green roofs and shared public terraces between the building volumes. Overall, the project appears not only surrounded by the tropical vegetation but embedded within it. All traffic and parking is accommodated in a single layer below the landscaped ground level. A large number of open-air voids allow light and air to the semi-sunken parking deck, creating areas of lush vegetation and trees below ground and connecting these spaces visually and through planting to the courtyards above.


The landscape design capitalizes on the generous size of the eight-hectare site and further maximizes the green area and presence of nature. By stacking the apartment blocks, the design has generated additional horizontal surfaces and thereby the opportunity for extensive roof gardens and numerous landscaped public terraces that in aggregate provide even more overall green area than the size of the unbuilt site.

THE INTERLACE

OMA as Architects

The Interlace, one of the largest and most ambitious residential developments in Singapore, presents a radically new approach to contemporary living in a tropical environment. Instead of creating a cluster of isolated, vertical towers – the default typology of residential developments in Singapore – the design proposes an intricate network of living and social spaces integrated with the natural environment.


Thirty-one apartment blocks, each six stories tall and identical in length, are stacked in a hexagonal arrangement around eight large-scale open and permeable courtyards. The interlocking blocks create a vertical village of both shared and private outdoor spaces on multiple levels. While maintaining the privacy of the individual apartments through the generous spacing of the building blocks,


The Interlace creates an interactive network of outdoor spaces oriented around the focal points of the courtyards, reflecting and extending the natural surroundings. The project is located on an eight-hectare site in the verdant Southern Ridges and will complete a nine-kilometer green belt of parks and recreational facilities. Extensive residential amenities and facilities are interwoven into the lush vegetation and offer opportunities for social interaction. With 170,000m2 of built floor area, the development will provide over 1,000 residential units of varying sizes, each with unobstructed and varying views over the parks, the city, and the sea. Sustainability features are incorporated throughout the project through careful environmental analysis of sun, wind, and micro-climate conditions and the integration of low-impact passive energy strategies.


The project generates ample spaces and opportunities for social interaction and shared activities while also providing intimate spaces of privacy and quietness – simultaneously fostering a sense of community and maintaining individuality and identity.

The Interlace

Lighting Planners Associates Inc. as Designers

In this unique architectural scheme for a residential development, the lighting concept is to create a soft impression of the juxtaposed building blocks on top of each other. The gentle uplight of each block creates‘framed views’ of the permeable void spaces which defines the experience. The reflected light from the blocks created a gentle contrast suitable for a residential scheme.A variety of themed landscape areas were carefully lit using the concepts of colour and contrast to create unique and enjoyable experiences for the users. A dynamic lighting operation allows the landscape light to dim down after midnight.

The Interlace

ICN Design as Landscape Architects

With the demolition of an older development a prime site on Kent Ridge was the opportunity for appropriate high density housing. The Interlace was envisaged as a ‘vertical village’ rising from the continuous green folds of the Southern Ridges. The intention was to challenge the accepted ‘norms’ for city condominium living, by using a unique architectural form that created a series of open spaces throughout the building at all levels. These communal, landscape spaces provide a counterpoint to the built form. Through their programming and design features this landscape fabric offers social, recreational, environmental and other leisure opportunities.


Nestled between two existing parks; this generous eight hectare site connects Kent Ridge Park from the west with Telok Blangah Park in the East, and sits within Singapore’s nominal ‘greenbelt’, the Southern Ridges. The proximity to the parks and the Kent Ridge greenbelt was a key driver in the development of the initial concept.


From the hexagonal spatial arrangement, a landscape of airy openness is derived. The landscape concept reinterpreted the forest strata idea to conceptualise a weaving of greenery through the building form and site in four strata; from basement, ground, mid-levels and roof.


COMMUNITY FUNCTION – SHARED AND PRIVATE SPACES The thirty one ‘super-blocks’ are stacked in a hexagonal arrangement that maximises views and cross ventilation. The geometric arrangement creates eight distinct spaces; ground-level courtyards that are foci for the adjacent blocks, shared spaces and amenities for the whole Interlace community. The elevated ‘covered’ areas between the blocks form nine public sky-terraces. These offer semi private space for residents. On top the ‘open’ roofs spaces of each block are utilised as private gardens for the units. Using this unique arrangement living landscapes were brought right into the building form and the private zones within each level. Each communal sky terrace is themed, either with an activity such as the Games Garden, or to showcase botanical elements such as the Bonsai Garden and Garden of Essence. Planting extends up onto the private roof gardens and balconies, allowing residents to get involved in the care of the landscape within their shared environment. For a development of this size a whole range of multi-purpose external facilities have been crafted throughout the site landscape, maximising views, connections, open space and shade from buildings and tree canopies in a interplay of shared and more intimate places to create a true socially sustainable development.


ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY – LIVING PLANTS ON BUILDINGS From the onset the importance of an extensive and comprehensive landscape solution was emphasised. Care was taken to ensure that there was sufficient soil bodies and depth over structure to allow for significant tree planting. Where ‘true-ground’ was available the planting opportunities were maximized. In order to ensure that the planting was mature enough at opening the plants were pre-grown for two years prior to installation. To achieve the diversity and to take into account the varying climatic conditions an extensive plant palette was used, creating a great deal of bio-diversity within the project. The landscape spaces were seen as an opportunity to foster a sense of environmental awareness, along with initiatives such as the resident’s garden it is hoped these will encourage involvement and individual sustainable practices.


All eight courtyards evoke a different ambience through the choice of plant species. These relate to the recreational uses within and around the courtyard. Along with the nine individually themed sky terraces the multitude of open green spaces provides a great deal of diversity within the landscape. The large variety and number of plant species encourage habitat creation and facilitates the migration of the local fauna from the adjacent forested green belt. The softscape design was inspired by native plant species which feature throughout the development, crafted throughout the site landscape, maximising views, connections, open space and shade from buildings and trees canopies in a interplay of shared and more intimate places to create true socially sustainable development.


PROFESSIONAL SCOPE: • Design • Documentation • Implementation inspection


LANDMARK FEATURES: • Trans planted specimen trees • Extensive waterscapes • Multi-level landscape terraces • Roof gardens • Feature theme gardens • Recreation amenities


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