The Collective Spirit

by DP Architects

Architecture has the power to elevate the values of heritage and nature as well as cultivate relationships within the community. The strengthening of these shared values and socio-cultural bonds through effective place-making is vital to our sense of collectivity and cohesion. From healthcare and community to retail and mixed-use developments, DP..Architects remain steadfast in their mission to enrich the human experience and spirit through architectural excellence.

Heartware Network

The overarching goal of Heartware Network’s new office was to create a space of possibilities where youths can gather, interact and participate – to be involved. Conceptualising the 350sqm premise, DPA broke away from conventional institutional outfits typically seen in organisations of this nature and innovatively expanded design as a tool to influence the way young users re-imagine the environment, and identify with place and space while nurturing values within them. These were achieved through the introduction of a distinctive modular and interactive grid furniture system that iterates with various plug-in elements in three key design strategies.

The design acts as a canvas for customisable spaces. Tiered bleachers on wheels, loose seating and individual pedestals can be stored away in the cabinetry, enabling flexible use of space and a spontaneous work environment. Ideation panels and spots are also freely available throughout, encouraging youth participation while allowing them to create their own identity.

Materiality and tactility form the second design strategy while the incorporation of smart and green design elements form the third. A neutral palette of plywood, white laminate and shades of grey with accent colours not only aligns with the corporate colours embodying the values of Heartware Network but also reflects the youthful energies and aspirations of its end-users. Beyond its aesthetic function, the feature green wall which is cared for by youth volunteers, aims to cultivate stewardship and participation while smart devices promoting day-to-day footprint consciousness encourage and strengthen ownership of community and space among the youths.


01 - A permeable and open-plan workspace which serves as a touchpoint to an average of 1,500 youths and 400 disadvantaged annually. 02 - Socially driven, the design of the modular furniture system within an open and fluid space helps create an environment that encourages interaction, promotes creativity and individualism, and strengthens ownership to community and place through participation and volunteerism. 03 - Throughout the Heartware Network office, hanging acoustic mobiles simultaneously soften the space and advocates the various key values. Here, doves stand for authenticity and cranes for integrity. 04 - The modules act as informal and re-definable thresholds while the green wall is a staple feature that is meaningfully incorporated into the design to cultivate stewardship through the shared responsibility of plant care. The green wall also harvests the condensate from the air-conditioning (a waste by-product known to most) for watering of the plants. 05 - The design of Heartware Network goes beyond the physical make-up and centres on the psyche of youth – reinforcing and propagating the right values needed to impact positive change in the place called, Home.

Home Team NS (Khatib)

The design for HomeTeam NS rethinks the basic function of circulation pathways, elevating it from a purely utilitarian space to an experience layered with narratives, emotions and purpose. The two main thoroughfares of the development take on the mantle of an extroverted heritage gallery for the community.

Guided by principles that reinvigorate the quintessential constructs of home — security, warmth and trust — the architecture refreshes the atmosphere of sharing and bonding; expressed by the articulate threading of connections and the dissolution of fortified perimeters and frontages. A glimpse through the window of a passing train reveals its spatial tone of intricacy and subtlety, established by the visual definitions of tartan staggering and the slender swelling of columns; elements that serve to unite the HomeTeam community. 

As the curated journey within the circulatory thoroughfares unveil the storyboard of our guardians’ past and present aspirations — effected through a display of headgears — it informs the visitor’s understanding of the institution’s heritage. The trek past these walls reflects their campaign, formalising a crusade that harnesses the community as a source of solidarity and resilience. HomeTeam seeks to expand the narrative of defence by galvanising national consciousness, forged by a common, coordinated sense of purpose.

HomeTeam NS Khatib is a club that sheds its barriers to reach out and connect with the environment and community; a house that recognises that the strength of the defence lies in the nourishment community and in the heart of families; a home that cherishes her protectors and shares their emotions.


01 - A glimpse of HomeTeam NS from a field in the surrounding HDB plot 02 - The main elevation view 03 - The visitor’s curated journey through the gallery begins along the thoroughfare 04 - From here, visitors can access the Multi-Purpose Hall via the central staircase 05 - The use of glass walls in the pre-function room is yet another design feature that articulates the organisation’s intent to shed its barriers to reach out and connect with the environment and community.

Sengkang Hospital Campus

Embedded within the residential heartland, Sengkang Hospital Campus (SKH) was conceptualised as a Wellness Park that expands beyond its primary function as a healthcare facility to engage with the public realm and inspire them towards a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the design approach and organisation of SKH is a people-centric one and principally driven by crafting a living network of healing and therapeutic environments. This is articulated through an array of interstitial spaces of different scale and seamless interplay of architecture and landscape.

SKH comprises a 10-storey specialist outpatient clinic tower, two 6-storey ward towers housing over 1,400 inpatient beds and a 4-storey podium that holds 49 operation theatres and a range of clinical facilities within a 288,000sqm integrated campus. The enormity of the campus is broken down to human-scale through a series of design strategies such as step-terracing the podium block, segregating non-clinical from clinical spaces and lifting the building massing to create brisk-ways. The result is an amalgam of sensitively designed and lushly landscaped shared spaces that exceed their functional requirements. By lifting the core spaces, DPA created a permeable ground plane – the ‘Community Heart’ accented with a series of public plazas, community squares for public and community engagement events, and retail spaces. The porosity of the ground floor also enhances the line-of-sight for visual wayfinding.

This modular principle effectively merges clinical spaces with healing gardens within the hospital campus, providing respite for patients and staff. It is also adaptable to the ever-changing face of the healthcare sector.


01 - North-south linear breezeways, stepped podiums and pocket courtyards encourage the filtering of natural light into deeper parts of the campus 02 - Conceptualised as a Wellness Park, the SKH campus opens up its use beyond that of a healthcare facility to the public realm for the communities and residents of Sengkang 03 - As part of the Wellness Park concept, the podium roof is utilised as a green connective plane between the wards to provide patients with a sense of grounded-ness while empowering them through mobility 04 - These pockets of green oases feature a thoughtful selection of vegetation and are intended to provide positive diversions, promote healing and therapy for patients, give hope to care-givers and inspire the community to lead a healthy lifestyle 05 - Courtyards are strategically located throughout the podium to allow for daylight penetration without compromising the spatial continuity of clinical and staff departments

Revitalisation of Paya Lebar Precinct

Following plans to decentralise Singapore’s CBD, Paya Lebar was identified for redevelopment into a sophisticated sub-regional business hub in 2008. Since then, the mature district has been steadily shedding its dated look to embrace a new urbanscape and pulse with renewed vibrancy.

Of the full masterplan, DPA was tasked with three key but individual developments – Paya Lebar Square, SingPost Centre and Paya Lebar Quarter. Sited in adjacency to one another and the MRT station, each is uniquely designed and purposed to the locale. While the existing SingPost Centre was re-envisioned with a 25,000sqm retail wing extension that embraces new technologies in online and offline commerce and iterates its relevance in a digital age, Paya Lebar Square which comprises a 13-storey office tower set on a two-storey retail podium with one basement, was conceived as a high-quality commercial property that adds to the diversity of amenities and vibrancy of the area.

The addition of the four-hectare mixed-use Paya Lebar Quarter completes Paya Lebar Central. Its architectural scheme sensitively responds to the adjacent Malay settlement of Geylang Serai; forming a contextual relationship with the socio-economic fabric of its environs. Iterating the district’s reputation as the ‘Malay emporium’ of Singapore, the development is strategically organised with an emphasis on pedestrian-friendly programming. This is further bolstered by a public plaza cum event space that provides direct access to the MRT station and adjacent developments.

The result is an accessible and vibrant marketplace at the heart of Paya Lebar for both residing community and businesses.


01 - Transforming the sleepy town of Paya Lebar, DP Architects delivered a refreshed urbanscape that is at once accessible, pedestrian-friendly, sophisticated and dynamic 02 - The modernist architecture of SingPost Centre purposefully integrates a network of public spaces from the outdoor community plaza to a roof garden that hosts diverse programmes including two restaurant pavilions, a children’s playground, eight cinema halls and servicing areas; effectively transforming the area into a new ground for playthat appeals to the utilitarian and fuss-free lifestyle of the digital age 03 - To capitalise on the busy pedestrian movement of the site between key transport nodes, the design of Paya Lebar Square created seamless connectivity in two ways: an intuitive yet clear organisation of programmes and mall space, and a signature tree-like structure with greens which not only signify key entrances to the development but also enable it to meld with its streetscape 04 - At PLQ, clearly defined yet seamlessly integrated spaces ensure purposeful utility while facilitating the commingling of various social and interest groups within the development; articulated in the public plaza between PLQ Mall and Office Towers 1 & 2, which not only allows for seamless pedestrian connectivity at the ground plane but also serves as alfresco dining spots and event spaces when needed; encouraging vibrant communal and social interactions 05 - By tastefully adapting the intricate weave of the songket, the design of PLQ shows an appreciation and respect for the layers of social history and built environment to meaningfully deliver a relevant development and vibrant experience for the local community

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