Bishan Residential Development
Over the last four decades, Safdie Architects has created from the experimental project Habitat ’67 in Montreal a series of projects incorporating fractal-geometry surface patterns, a dramatic stepping of the structure that results in a network of gardens open to the sky, and streets that interconnect and bridge community gardens in the air. In Singapore, the 38-story Bishan housing complex is representative of high-density, high-rise upper-middle-income urban housing, a typology that is in great demand in Singapore and other Asian cities. The prevailing designs for such housing have been towers that share common amenities on the ground level. For the Bishan project, we have incorporated many design features to greatly expand family and community space amenities, in part by providing generous community gardens and outdoor spaces on the ground and in the air, as well as individual roof terraces and gardens for more than half of the individual residences. Instead of independent towers, the design for Bishan proposes a singular, interconnected (at three levels) clustering of terraced apartments with lush garden spaces. The overall mass is porous and open for air and light, with the air to breeze through and the light to penetrate. This maximizes views for families and for the community spaces, resulting in a more humane and delicate urban fabric than is usual in the traditional apartment building. The structure is highly rationalized, affording cross-ventilation and multiple exposures to every unit. It is well-adapted to maximizing air movement in Singapore’s tropical climate. At the ground plane, above a sunken parking podium, 72 percent of the site is developed into a series of lush gardens, outdoor event rooms, swimming pools, and walking paths. While providing an unprecedented quality of life, mitigating a sense of density and concentration and maximizing contact with nature, the complex also results in a village-like clustering of residential units, echoing hillside developments and the integration of architecture and plant life into a singular experience.
Project Type: Residential