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Room with a view: Singapore's latest super-structure

Dorin Lim
 

A revolution in residential architecture is in the making, says the award-winning designer behind Singapore's iconic Marina Bay Sands thanks to increasing calls for a better balance between communal and private space.

On a tour of his latest Singapore residential project, Sky Habitat by CapitaLand (Singapore Exchange: CATL-SG), star architect Moshe Safdie explained how he ensured that each apartment owner got a great view of their community.

"The general approach of the design here is not to pre-conceive the form and see how apartments work into it, but actually work from within," the 76-year-old celebrated architect told CNBC.

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"So the idea of the pyramid-stepping structure comes from the idea of gardens, and I believe it should be opened to the sky. (So) when you step back, the two planes plate together against each other to maximize views and to maximize the airflow."

Safdie, who has designed over 70 projects in 50 years, is working on multiple developments in Asia including the Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore, Raffles City Chongqing and LuOne Shanghai in China for CapitaLand.


For Sky Habitat, Safdie broke away from the traditional notion of monolithic blocks and fragmented the building into terraced apartments with garden spaces.

"There's a tradition (in Singapore) of being quite generous about the communal facilities. It is a tradition of community living that starts with the HDB housing," he said.

Sky Habitat, which is 73 percent sold as of end June 2015, strikes a resemblance to Safdie's much-lauded Habitat '67 in Montreal, the groundbreaking high-density urban housing development that shot him to fame at the 1967 World Expo.

One thing he learnt over the past 48 years from this development was the importance of community, which created a sense of attachment that has seen residents live there for generations.

"Our experience is that people really make these spaces (in the balconies) their own," he said. "In Montreal, people plant tomatoes and herbs on their terraces."



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