HDB project bags top honour for design

It might be a tropical sci-fi version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with greenery draping over an interlocking facade and metal-mesh stairwell walls lending a modern edge to the scene.

But it is actually the Housing Board's SkyTerrace @ Dawson, a Queenstown project designed by SCDA Architects which landed the HDB Design Award 2015 earlier this month - the top honour at the annual HDB Design Awards.

Fourteen public housing projects were given design accolades this year, the largest number since the awards' inception in 2004. They recognise the HDB's industry partners for their work in designing housing estates and flats.

As its name suggests, the development in Dawson also boasts six sky terraces - elevated walkways - and an outdoor amphitheatre for communal activities. Its looks are also functional: The stair walls let in light and create better ventilation.

The five-block project, which houses multi-generation loft units, is also notable for its facade, which creates an interesting building profile, said Mr Oon Jin Aik, director of SCDA Architects.

Extensive terraced planting which dangles over some of the buildings' edges also "soften" the look, he added.

Punggol's Waterway Woodcress, designed by ADDP Architects, also won a Certificate of Merit - Design award. Its seven blocks have staggered heights, allowing more than half of the units to have views of the Punggol Waterway.

The precinct's rustic theme is brought out in brown tones and faux-timber facades and lift doors.

Triangular screens on the roofs of the blocks mimic village pitched roofs while concealing water tanks, said ADDP's senior architectural associate Ryan Lye.

HDB's deputy director for design policy, Mr Jeremiah Lim, said unique designs help boost a resident's sense of belonging. He said: "Residents like their projects a little bit different from the projects next door."

SkyTerrace @ Dawson resident Cheah Tse Boon, 35, who owns a behaviour therapy school with his wife, said the design reminded him of a "five-star condominium".

"I like the landscaping here, it stands out from other HDB developments," he said.


This article was first published on September 23, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.