Architectural Imagination That Has an Activist Dimension - KAMPUNG ADMIRALTY by WOHA

Kampung Admiralty by WOHA is billed as the first integrated public building in Singapore that brings together a mix of public facilities and services under one roof.

Kampung Admiralty by WOHA is billed as the first integrated public building in Singapore that brings together a mix of public facilities and services under one roof. Known for integrating social and environmental principles to their projects, Kampung Admiralty is a perfect example of an ideal plan and implementation toward a high-amenity, high-density mini city.

KAMPUNG ADMIRALTY by WOHA

Recently, the building won the World Building of the Year Award at World Architecture Festival 2018 in Amsterdam. The project was selected from strikingly broad shortlist that included works from offices such as Koffi & Diabate Architects, Spheron Architects, Sanjay Puri Architects, Heatherwick Studio, and INNOCAD. The judges highly admired the project for the quality of strategic thinking and engagement and how this formed an outlook of how urban spaces could be developed, used and inhabited.

The judges felt that “by literally building bridges to connect disparate communities, it epitomizes how architectural imagination can have an activist dimension, catalyzing the social potential of the city.”

Architectural Imagination

The principal approach of each government agency in Singapore is to have their own plot of land and so does the concept of building standalone structures emerged. Kampung Admiralty is a one-stop integrated complex to meet Singapore’s ageing population. Thus, a vertical Kampung (a traditional village in the region) is created, with a People's Plaza in the lower stratum sheltered by a medical centre in the mid stratum supporting a community park in the upper stratum.

Sprawled over an area about 0.9 ha with a height limit of 45m and adjacent to a train station in the medium-rise public housing area, the building comprises residential, commercial and health space amid amenities, medical facilities, community spaces, retail, restaurants and cafes all topped by extensive tropical rainforest terraces. Referring to the existing model of several amenities in standalone buildings, the lead architect says that, ‘It enables us to layer the amenities and programmes vertically, which saves a lot of space.’ The centrepiece of this building is the “club-sandwich" approach and the incorporation of a vast amount of greenery in the terraces.

Architectural Imagination

The people’s Plaza is an ideal place for the public to participate in organized events, enjoy the delicious food at the hawker centre on the 2nd storey and join the season’s festivities. A medical shelter shelters the breezy tropical plaza above, enabling fun activities to continue regardless of the weather. Community Park is an amazing place for residents to come together to chat, exercise or take part in any activity. Senior citizens -singles or couples- are provided with a total of 104 studio apartments in two 11-storey blocks.

The building dealt with the universal condition of permanence and health treatments, social housing provision, and commercial space, which enabled substantial public realm benefits. The biggest challenge for the architect Wong while working on this four-year project was to 

convince four government ministries and seven institutions to accept this ‘radical, ground-breaking idea’. However, we can definitely say that the architect’s endeavour was definitely paid off as the government lately declared plans to replicate the same model elsewhere on the island.

Text and Image Courtesy: WAF & WOHA.net

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