Fiftyyears ago, Singapore was imagined as a ‘city in a garden’. When HeatherwickStudio was commissioned to design an apartment building in the historic Newtondistrict, they were inspired by this vision, and by the lush tropical settingof the area’s nineteenth-century houses. They wanted to move away from theenclosed steel and glass towers of recent decades and instead, create a morenatural ‘home in a garden’ – a place where residents could feel connected tothe city’s tree-lined streets, yet enjoy the views, light and privacy that comewith living high above them. From the ground, they wanted it to appear as ifthese green streets were rising up into the sky.
EDENcontains twenty apartments, with just one per floor. When stacked on top ofeach other, the apartments are quickly lifted out of reach of a ground-levelgarden, so the design team examined how to raise this greenery and thread itupwards through the building. By pulling apart the square block of aconventional residential tower and moving services to the perimeter, they wereable to create a large central living space on each floor, surrounded bysmaller individual rooms and wide shell-like balconies. These balconies arealternated to create a series of double-height spaces, which are filled with tropicalplanting, drawn from more than twenty species of flora. As well as surroundingeach apartment with greenery, the plants will grow to cascade down thebuilding, softening its appearance.
Thestudio took the natural contours of Singapore’s terrain and abstracted it tocreate a new topographical texture, then worked with fabricators to produceone-off moulds for each concrete panel. Embossed with an outline of thebuilding and its immediate surroundings, these panels reveal and make a virtueof their location, giving the material greater physical and conceptualinterest. The colour of the building also plays a role in differentiating EDEN.To find the ideal tone that would appear natural and complement the concrete,more than a hundred deep red, purple and brown shades were tested under theSingaporean sun.
Atground-level, entrance is through a canyon-like corridor, 1.5 metres wide andmore than ten times as high, lined with black granite. This opens into adramatic 18-metre-high lobby at the heart of the building, hung with livingplant chandeliers. This space is made possible by raising the first apartment27 metres above street level, ensuring that every residence benefits fromelevated views. Throughout the building, every interior detail has been craftedto express a sense of warmth. The natural imperfections of the organicmaterials have been celebrated; for example, the imprints in the 180million-year-old Jura limestone are revealed, saw marksare left visible in the handmade parquet, and the balcony floor is laid with atextured herringbone-patterned slate. This idea flows through to the solidexposed timber of the oak kitchen cabinets, and the walnut entrance way, whichmimics the topographical texture of the exterior concrete panels. In thebathrooms, the sink, vanity unit and bath were also custom-designedfor the project by the studio, and utilise a similarly restrained yet richpalette of materials.
Thebuilding incorporates a number of features, both active and passive, to conserveenergy and promote naturally cool, comfortable spaces. These include deepcantilevered balconies which provide solar shading whilst also maximising thebenefits of natural light coming into the apartments through full heightbi-folding doors. Windows in the living space open on three sides to allownatural cross-ventilation. The glazing is set back to reduce solar gain. As avertical series of gardens, the building is also symbolic of how Singapore hasled the way in embracing the conservation of the natural world in the city.
Atthe heart of every apartment, there is a large light central space, shelteredby the concrete structure and wrapped in the greenery of the lush tropicalbalcony, with views of the city beyond – this is conceived as a place for togetherness.More private rooms and discreet service areas extend from this main livingspace in an intuitive, flexible arrangement. Toensure that the apartments addressed the best possible view, we used footagefrom a drone to assess the different options – this allowed us to betterunderstand the views as they would actually be experienced at the height of theliving spaces. We adjusted the building’s rotation accordingly, while takinginto account sunlight and shade.
Theinterior finishes relate to the design concept for the overall building. Forexample, the wooden herringbone-pattern apartment floors flow out to thebalconies, where they are recreated in a similarly toned slate. The texturedconcrete panels of the exterior walls are also echoed internally in the entranceway, which mimicsthis topographical pattern in a walnut finish. In this sense, the building isconceived as a single organic object – everything is designed as part of thesame natural form, which has taken root beneath the city’s streets and isdrawing greenery upwards towards the skyline.
Itwas important that the apartments were not cut-off from the life of the city,the weather and cooling breezes, so the windows on all three sides of thebuilding can be opened, allowing air to flow throughout the space.
Thecentral living area, with its garden balcony, provides a natural space in whichto bring people together, whether as a family, or when entertaining on a largerscale. The layout allows an intuitive hierarchy of privacy as you move throughthe apartment: service areas are within easy reach of this central space andthere is direct lift access, yet the individual rooms of the apartment remainprivate.
Ittook six years of meticulous studies to come up with the design for EDEN. Weset ourselves the challenge of coming up with a design that would providesomething new, which embraced the natural world and was uniquely of its place.We felt that it was important to move away from some of the impersonal,manufactured developments we had seen in the region – instead, we chose tocelebrate the quirks and unique textures of different materials to make abuilding that felt more organic and would be truly distinctive.
Q: 您在该项目中采用了哪些突破/创新设计？What the breakthrough/innovative design you have adopted in this project?
Theproject as a whole is innovative – it reimagines the way apartments aredesigned, allowing the living spaces to feel more like spacious homes withgardens than units within buildings. It is also rooted in the landscape, fromSingapore’s physical topography to the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew’s green vision.