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The sustainability features behind the pixelated façade of Irwell Hill Residences


Caption: The two 36-storey residential towers are centred around a landscaped garden inspired by the conserved heritage rain trees (Credit: City Developments Ltd)

Located off River Valley Road in prime District 9 is Irwell Hill Residences, the 540-unit, high-end condominium by City Developments (CDL). It sits on a 137,638 sq ft, 99-year leasehold elevated site with four conserved heritage rain trees.

The project is designed by the globally acclaimed Dutch architectural firm MVRDV in collaboration with Singapore-based ADDP Architects, which has extensive experience in prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC). CDL was the first to embrace PPVC in 2015 when it developed The Brownstone executive condominium at Canberra Drive with ADDP as its architect.


Irwell Hill Residences is designed by globally acclaimed Dutch architectural firm MVRDV in collaboration with Singapore-based ADDP Architects (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

“Irwell Hill Residences is a luxury project that uses PPVC, which is a more sustainable construction technique, but it can still have an innovative design,” says Tang Kok Thye, associate partner of ADDP Architects.

As entire 3D modules — including internal finishes, fixtures and fittings — are built in a factory and stacked on-site, PPVC ensures low-waste construction. MVRDV’s façade design for Irwell Hill Residences capitalises on the quality of the PPVC system to create a “pixelated” façade: Each prefabricated unit creates one pixel.

The different champagne gold pixel designs are stacked in various ways to create a pattern in the overall façade. The pattern created is inspired by climbing plants found on tree trunks, lending the building a naturalistic appearance.

The two 36-storey residential towers are centred around a landscaped garden inspired by the conserved heritage rain trees. As the residential towers has a site footprint of just 25%, this frees up the remaining 75% of the site for landscaping and facilities.


Purpose-designed workspace Vista Co-Work is on the 24th floor  (Credit: City Developments Ltd)

There is also a five-storey sky garden on the 24th floor of both towers with social spaces and residents’ amenities. The purpose-designed workspace Vista Co-Work is set amid landscaped gardens and is reserved for residents. It comes with WiFi, charging points and a city view. A Sky Lounge, more landscaped gardens, and residential facilities are on the rooftop.

The towers are designed with passive cooling to reduce direct sunlight into the units. Apartments include balconies or sun-shading elements like horizontal ledges and tinted windows to dissipate heat energy-efficiently. Direct west-facing units are minimised.

Environmentally friendly materials, using low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints for internal walls to reduce indoor air pollution. Lifts are installed with a sleep mode, variable voltage variable frequency (VVVF) drive and regenerative power feature. Meanwhile, the refuse collection is separated into recyclables and non-recyclables. Rainwater is harvested via a siphonic rainwater discharge system on the roof.

The development earned a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Gold Plus certification. Irwell Hill Residences also won the Sustainability Award at the EdgeProp Excellence Awards 2022.


The show flat of a one-bedroom unit featuring a kitchen countertop that be transformed into a workspace, an extended food preparation space or a dining table (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

Units in Irwell Hill Residences are designed with luxury fittings such as Miele kitchen appliances, Gessi taps and Geberit sanitaryware. Studio and one-bedroom plus study units feature kitchen countertops that can be extended to be transformed into the workspace, ample food preparation space or a dining table.

Every unit is fitted with an intelligent hub gateway which can be controlled remotely from a mobile app, connecting to lighting, air conditioning, delivery service, parcel collection, smoke detector and voice control.

Launched in April last year, the project is 92% sold to date. The median price at launch was $2,628 psf. That has increased to $2,941 psf, based on caveats lodged in the three months from July to September this year. Irwell Hill Residences is within walking distance of the Great World City shopping mall and the Great World MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line, scheduled to open on Nov 13.

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