Bamboo Skyscraper Archipelago

Location: Singapore

Year: 2014

This Project starts from an analysis of the physical and social nature of Singapore, a country-city situated on an archipelago of 63 islands, a cultural result of the fusion of many populations. Therefore, the new sustainable bamboo Village consists of an archipelago of different volumes, among which the skyscraper stands out. They spread around a water core, the Marina that reminds one of Marina Bay Sands, not far away from it, in the Downtown Core.

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The masterplan is a configuration of many “functional islands”, settled around a central core. The main volume, the Skyscraper, hosts the functions required by the program, while the others, lower and placed at the same level of new squares and paths, offer recreational spaces, sport facilities, educational structures, theatres and cinemas. They overlook a central courtyard, which consists of a small Marina, accessible from the Kallang River through a new waterway. External structures, like gardens, are located on the same level of the surrounding areas. At a lower level, underground parking spaces can be found, as well as technical rooms, storage and support facilities of the infrastructural nodes. All the buildings are connected with each other through passageways that host the main routes, the squares, the shopping terraces, and the inner harbour pier. They have been designed for cycle-pedestrian flow but can also be used by electric vehicles, or shuttles.
The main access points are the following: from the East side, by the Nicoll Highway Station; from the North, by the Nicoll Highway, through the pedestrian entrances. From the West side, through the new link to the Ophir Road and the Suntec City; from the South side, by the new infrastructural node between the Project and the ECP, via Republic Avenue; from the South-East, by a new cycle-pedestrian path and the new water way to Marina Park and Kallang River. These primary routes are the structural axes of the entire project and function as main entrances to the Village, flowing toward the Core, as well as passages to the Skyscraper. The buildings and pathways are designed to allow views from the passageways to the main Singapore landmarks: The Flyer, Marina Park and other buildings in the surrounding areas.
The Skyscraper consists of two concentric structural cylinders joined together by horizontal rings. On the inside, this steel structure is filled with independent self-supporting cells, made by a structural net of bamboo. Each level of the building is designed as a continuous tunnel, along which the cells are combined through the horizontal rings, assuming different configurations. The different combinations of assembly allow us to obtain different and flexible spaces depending on the functions. Each cell is easily replaceable in case of deterioration over time: this is done through a vertical movement system within the central structural cylinder. The spaces thus defined are finished with removable bamboo panelling that helps the maintenance of the building and facilities, and are divided by movable partitions, adaptable to changing needs. The Skyscraper is then covered with a double skin of glass and shading elements of bamboo, creating an air-gap for insulation and natural ventilation. The Skyscraper is composed mainly of bamboo, in the form of structural cells and finishing, but it also contains a small percentage of steel as a strictly necessary skeleton and a small amount of glass.
The two structural cylinders, tied together by horizontal rings, create the backbone and the housings for the cells in bamboo. In each level, they lie one beside the other, combined or separated depending on the spaces to configure, creating a continuous “tunnel”. The cell is designed as a hollow section of the tunnel, dimensioned to be able to be transported vertically through the internal structural cylinder, facilitating the assembly and the possible replacement in time.
The Skyscraper is accessible from the cycle-pedestrian plates and through a navigable inland port, inside a large green Cave. It creates a large reservoir of fresh and humid air, just below the warmer ventilation channels, including the buffer zone and along the internal structural cylinder. The difference in pressure and the narrowing of the channels trigger a natural ventilation capable of cooling the building. The elevators are located in the large pillars, which also give access to galleries around the Cave-Harbour, up to the first cell. From there up, the elevators are contained in the internal structural cylinder. In some levels, the absence of some cells enable the creation of large inner squares for socializing, recreation and catering.
The outer skin of bamboo permits the filtering of the strong outer light and it is designed according to the high angle of incidence of the sun, which is always very high throughout the year. It constitutes the distinctive “dress” of the Skyscraper, becoming one with the squares and external routes. The design of the bamboo elements of the outer skin and the cells allows filtering of the strong sunlight and ensures natural lighting, while in the first and last hours of the day it creates plays of light and shadow on the inner surfaces of the interiors. The outer skin is also an integrated system for the capture and collection of rainwater, which is stored, purified and reused.
Bamboo is used both as a dress and as a structure in the building as well as in public spaces, along the route and in the squares. Thick tropical vegetation is provided on the roof of each of the other buildings to return a bit of the green that the expansion of the city has drastically reduced over the time. Among the trees and taller plants, photovoltaic panels will be incorporated, able to meet most of the energy needs of the buildings. Biomass obtained from green roofs will provide fertilizer and energy from combustion. Wind turbines on top of the skyscraper will provide additional energy while in the Marina, tidal generators use the energy of the tidal flows to produce electricity.

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