This year’s World Building of the Year award has gone to Kampung Admiralty in Singapore by WOHA Architects. This was announced at World Architecture Festival 2018 held at Amsterdam on November 28-30. The universal condition of longevity and health treatments, social housing provision, and commercial space, which enabled substantial public realm benefits, of the project drew special appreciation from judges. Interestingly, this project had won an award under the Commercial Mixed-Use (Future Projects) category at World Architecture Festival 2016.
Kampung Admiralty is Singapore’s first integrated public development that brings together a mix of public facilities and services under one roof. The traditional approach is for each government agency to carve out their own plot of land, resulting in several standalone buildings. This one-stop integrated complex maximises land use, and is a prototype for meeting the needs of Singapore’s ageing population.
Located on a tight 0.9Ha site with a height limit of 45m, the scheme builds upon a layered ‘club sandwich’ approach. A “Vertical Kampung (village)” is devised, with a People’s Plaza in the lower stratum, a Medical Centre in the mid stratum, and a Community Park with studio apartments for seniors in the upper stratum. These three distinct stratums juxtapose the various building uses to foster diversity of cross-programming and frees up the ground level for activity generators. The close proximity to healthcare, social, commercial and other amenities support inter-generational bonding and promote active ageing in place.
The People’s Plaza is a fully public, porous and pedestrianised ground plane, designed as a community living room, within which the public can participate in organised events, join in the season’s festivities, shop, or eat at the hawker centre on the 2nd storey. The breezy tropical plaza is shaded and sheltered by the Medical Centre above, allowing activities to continue regardless of rain or shine.
Residents can actively come together to exercise, chat or tend community farms at the Community Park, an intimately-scaled, elevated village green. A total of 104 studio apartments are provided in two 11-storey blocks for elderly singles or couples. “Buddy benches” at shared entrances encourage seniors to come out of their homes and interact with their neighbours. The units adopt universal design principles and are designed for natural cross ventilation and optimum daylight.
WOHA is a Singapore-based architectural practice founded by Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell in 1994. The firm has gained global recognition for its integration of environmental and social principles at every stage of the design process. WOHA has designed a diverse amount of innovative and highly influential projects, which have been built in a number of cities and countries, and their best-known projects have been widely publicised as benchmarks for sustainable design.