Our architecture seeks to celebrate the ordinary, creating spaces that incite delight amidst our daily routine. Creative applications of simple elements such as daylight, greenery and expanse of space allow everyone to celebrate the everyday.
Sparkletots Preschool By PAP Community Foundation
Sparkletots Preschool was one of the first standalone mega childcare centres to be introduced in Singapore as part of the nation’s broader social effort to improve and universalise early childhood education, a plan first announced by the government in 2014 and progressively implemented since. Sited in Punggol, a new town predominantly made up of young families, the preschool headlined as the largest preschool in Singapore when it opened in 2019.
Sparkletots is operated by PAP Community Foundation (PCF), one of the four preschool anchor operators in Singapore, the design brief called for classrooms and ancillary administrative, activity and play areas capable of supporting up to 1000 children. The environment should encourage joyful learning while seamlessly integrating basic operations such as child pick-up/drop-off, vehicular circulation, safety and security, and wellbeing e.g. health monitoring and disease outbreak control, all at a scale that had yet to be tested.
The elegant circular building form with an overhanging roof canopy conveys an image of shelter and protection. The holistic integration of nature as part of the centre’s design allows children first hand interactions with nature and living things that challenges and develops their psycho moto, dramatic play and literacy skills. Taking hints from the Sparkletots rainbow-coloured logo, the use of colour was deliberately employed as an organizing principle and way-finder to give the children a holistic and immersive experience.
Breaking new boundaries and creating better learning environments, the centre encapsulates PCF’s aspirations to provide quality education at subsidised rates for the masses.
01 - View of internal courtyards and 2nd storey open-air Y-bridge from the 3rd storey, sheltered and shaded by the feature translucent Teflon Roof 02 - Infant play area catered specially for the youngest group of children in the school, filled with artificial turf, mounds and tunnels to stimulate learning through play 03 - Entrance Court featuring 2 customized play slides and real trees to pique the children’s interest 04 - Children lying on the artificial turf and exploring elements in the open-to-sky lushly planted Music Gardens 05 - Play Arena - A multi-purpose area which has 3 adjourning activity rooms - Music Room, Drama Room and Art Atelier – which also doubles up as the dining area for children.
Agape Village is a 4-storey social welfare complex by the effort of Caritas Singapore to bring together various Catholic Organizations, each using their abilities to serve those in needs regardless of race, religion or nationality by providing integrated case management, counselling, legal aid, skills training etc. under one-roof.
Comprising a series of training rooms and pockets of green, the design intended to promote a sense of community through the use of multiple green terraces and pocket gardens on every level. The atrium, voids and the clustered layout of rooms around ‘courtyard spaces’ allow visual connection to other floors and spaces within the building, which gives the users a sense of awareness of other users. This, is our intention to foster the community.
In line with the humble identity of the place, the material and colour palette is deliberately kept minimal and natural as far as possible, to express a timeless aesthetic. The green from the terraces are allowed to take center stage against the white façade. Without much decoration and embellishment, the building remains as the physical framework whilst the people and activities in the building adapt and change with time.
01 - Agape Village, a 4-storey social welfare complex promoting a sense of community, nestled amongst existing mature raintrees 02 - Image 02 Internal corridors are naturally day-lit with skylights and encourage cross-ventilation via the pockets of green 03 - Pockets of Green for small group activities and personal quiet time 04 - Perforated screen facade, inspired by the conventional ventilation block, creating seamless indoor-outdoor settings 05 - Typical training rooms are in neutral finishes of monochrome tones, natural day-lit and equipped to operate in naturally ventilated settings
My First Skool at Rivervale Crescent
My First Skool at Rivervale Crescent is part of the second wave of large childcare centres in Singapore. With a built-up of 5,000 m2 GFA, it caters for the teaching and caring of 695 children, comprising infant and toddler care, playgroup, nursery and kindergarten schooling.
The single block centre was designed as a naturally ventilated space with porous views into the existing park. The façade features a series of “house-shaped” portals which double up as sun-shading ledges and transition portals which blur the indoor and outdoor play areas. The motif of a house was selected to evoke a sense of safety and security in hopes that the centre would be a “home” for the staff and children it houses. The use of materials and greenery throughout the building exude warmth and a “homely” atmosphere that is both exciting and inviting.
The heart of the centre is the central activity area comprising the double-volume Play Area at the 1st storey and an open-sided Play & Community Garden at the 2nd Storey. The double-volume Play Area is deliberately kept open towards the back, allowing the sheltered play area to merge seamlessly with the outdoor play area. The huge opening also allows the extension of views into the open park behind, whilst promoting cross-ventilation and daylighting.
The Play & Community Garden face the adjacent open park and is another sheltered area within the centre where play and learning can take place. The visual park connection allows the children to enjoy and appreciate nature whilst going about their daily activities which mainly involve multi-age mixing and learning through play.
01 - The Central Play Area is naturally day-lit and ventilated by a series of open-sided jet roofs and skylights at the roof 02 - Varied play features and settings to encourage learning through play 03 - Exterior View 04 - “house-shaped” portals featured along the façade; the motif of a house was selected to evoke a sense of safety and security in hopes that the centre would be a “home” for the staff and children within 05 - Typical classroom settings where learning activities are segregated using movable low blocks so as to encourage maximum integration and visual connections between the children
My First Skool at Segar Gardens
My First Skool at Segar Gardens is one of the first large child-care centre located by the park. With a built-up of 2,484 m2 GFA, it catered for the teaching and caring of 380 children, from infant up to kindergarten 1 & 2 schooling. The 2,681 m2 site fronts the Zhenghua Nature Park with its playground, circular lawn and jogging track facilities. The single block centre was designed with direction of a natural ventilated centre with visual continuity inside-out to the Nature Park.
As the site is approx. 2.7m - 3m higher than the adjacent roads, the 1st storey is mainly planned for main entrance with car parking facility. The classrooms start at 2nd to 3rd storey with direct connection to Zhenghua Nature Park via internal gentle curvature ramp. The park connection allows children to have daily learning experience, playing and exploring the nature, at the same time stimulating them to appreciate, care and grow with nature spirit.
The eastern façade has a full view to the park, treated with large fixed glass louvre panels as form of natural ventilation thru the day and natural lighting during the day time. BOH and services are located along the western façade, yet allowing cross ventilation thru the classrooms. High volume low speed (HVLS) fans were introduced to enhance the indoor ventilation quality.
Noteworthy challenges - besides its tight 7.5-month construction period, its location at the high rain area, foundation work starts during rainy season - was to fulfil both operational requirement and user’s needs, on top of designing interesting yet functional spaces and details. With joint effort of the team, the project was successfully completed within the given timeframe.
01 - Eastern Facade facing Zhenghua Nature Park 02 - Seemless boundary to the park 03 - Double Volume ramp and Acoustic Baffles Ceiling 04 - Natural Daylight at Mobile Activity Space 05 - Community Farming integrated as part of the Classroom
DECK is a non-commercial, independent arts venue, envisioned to be a place to support and nurture the community of photography enthusiasts in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Due to the nature of the short term lease of 2 years, the building has to be quickly assembled in one arrangement, and reassembled in another form to suit another site. Added to the list of challenges are the low budget available and the short construction window.
From the onset, the key design decision was that the construction process has to embody a low carbon footprint, touch the site lightly and to minimize on-site construction time. Thus we developed the design based on the concept of appropriating shipping containers into “containers for photography arts”.
By stacking the containers into a compelling urban assemblage that terraces towards the “plaza” space facing the blank neighbouring party wall, we could appropriate the architectural elements on site to form an intimate urban setting that supports a multitude of events and activities. The neighbouring party wall has been used a projection wall while viewers can choose to gather at the multiple overlooking terraces. Intentionally set back from the site boundary on all sides, the building invites people on the street to venture into the forecourt or slip round its perimeter to get to the other side of the urban block, stitching the larger urban fabric with its presence.
DECK contextualizes itself as the missing physical and programmatic link between two key art institutions in the Bras-Basah Bugis precinct - Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts at Bencoolen Street and Lasalle College of the Arts at Wiandstedt Road. Student programs from both schools to participate in DECK establish a “programmatic bridge” between the 2 schools.
The iconic DECK is an excellent example of a private initiative, independent art-space. We believe DECK is a timely addition and unique contribution to the fast-developing art gallery scene in Singapore.
01 - Main Entrance 02 - Courtyard View 03 - Terracing of containers 04 - Main Gallery space 05 - Image 05 Gallery Exhibition
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