The Straits Times
Published on Nov 28, 2012

Creating space: Redefine ground level at the third floor


A SIMPLER answer to creating space is not to build underground, but by redefining the first floor ("$135m kitty for fresh solutions on space"; Nov 17).

By defining the current level three as the new ground level, we would have effectively created two levels of additional space without massive underground works.

The current drainage network naturally follows the sea level. The sewer system is also predetermined by gravity. Building underground structures will require massive environmentally unfriendly work to pump liquids into the existing sewer and drainage network.

Huge ventilation systems are also required to ensure a liveable underground.

By redefining level three as the new ground level, which means that Urban Redevelopment Authority site coverage controls and National Parks Board planting levels would have to be adjusted, multi-storey carparks need not require underground structures.

Teck Ghee Vista is a good example of this concept, where the communal void deck areas are on high ground and connect seamlessly to the nearby overhead bridges. Elevated pedestrian walkways in developed cities have already proven that this is a feasible idea.

Singapore should exploit this design. After all, a pleasant streetscape need not be viewed only from the eyes of a driver at sea level.

Yoong Fung Yan