Living with birds and bees: 16 HDB projects lauded for good design, construction

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SINGAPORE - A Housing Board project in Queenstown is also home to peaceful solitary bees and small birds such as the oriental magpie-robin, thanks to insect hotels, hanging drilled wood logs and nest boxes that recreate habitats for a thriving local biodiversity.

SkyParc @ Dawson, which was completed in December last year, is one of 16 projects recognised for their excellent design, engineering and construction at this year's HDB Awards, said the board on Sunday (Oct 17).

Designed by home-grown firm Design Link Architects, the project comprises 810 two-room flexi as well as three-, four- and five-room units across three blocks.

It is one of the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (Sers) replacement sites for Tanglin Halt residents.

On the ground level, a 200m-long community eco-corridor offers pockets of seating beneath 18 mature shady trees, including rain tree and broad-leafed mahogany.

The pedestrianised corridor was formerly part of Margaret Drive and the architects specifically planned around existing mature trees to help enhance vegetation and retain wildlife in the area.

A vegetated bioswale, a type of green infrastructure designed to capture and hold rainwater run-off to prevent flooding, stretches along the length of the eco-corridor.

The project's park-like setting is replicated in sky terraces and sky gardens at the higher levels of the blocks, along with a roof garden at the multi-storey carpark.

An award ceremony to recognise all 16 projects will be held at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh next Wednesday (Oct 20).

A mixed development lauded for good design is Eastlink I and II @ Canberra, two Build-To-Order (BTO) projects completed in 2019.

Designed by local firm SAA Architects, each of the 11 residential blocks is linked via elevated sheltered walkways to the nearby Canberra MRT station, a three-storey neighbourhood centre and a park connector.

The network of sheltered linkways provides residents with a safe and barrier-free commute to a wide array of amenities and maximises opportunities for them to meet and interact as they go about their daily activities, said HDB.

Drawing inspiration from the town's history as a British naval base, the architects incorporated nautical-themed playgrounds, along with undulating bands on the blocks' facades, to give the estate a unique identity.

A rooftop garden on the 39th floor of SkyParc @ Dawson. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
The 3 Insects hotels at SkyParc @ Dawson are designed to recreate natural habitats to help the local biodiversity thrive. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The upcoming Parc Residences @ Tengah will be conferred the innovative engineering award (design) for its engineering design and construction methods.

Designed in-house by HDB's team of planners, architects and engineers, the project comprises 1,044 two-room flexi as well as three-, four- and five-room flats across 12 blocks, and is integrated with a neighbourhood centre.

It was launched in the August 2020 BTO sales exercise and is expected to be completed in 2025.

Parc Residences @ Tengah is the first HDB project to tap a cloud-based platform to log real-time information and progress updates, in a move towards greater productivity and efficiency.

On the design front, the ground level of the multi-storey carpark will be kept car-free to house amenities such as a childcare centre, fitness stations and a playground.

Artist's impression of Parc Residences @ Tengah, an integrated development with public housing and a neighbourhood centre. PHOTO: HDB

It will have prominently placed stairs to encourage residents to climb the steps for healthy living.

This year, six building contractors will be recognised for construction excellence in the development of housing projects.

Among them is home-grown firm BHCC Construction, which overcame site constraints to build Forfar Heights, a 43-storey residential and commercial block at the junction of Alexandra Road and Commonwealth Avenue.

HDB chief executive Tan Meng Dui said contractors and consultants have had it rough for the past 1½ years due to the Covid-19 pandemic but they have "risen to the challenge".

"Thanks to their dedication, professionalism and resilience amid the pandemic, HDB has been able to continually deliver quality homes to Singaporeans, with the flats delivered now surpassing pre-pandemic levels," he added.

"Through the HDB Awards, (we are) happy to recognise and affirm the excellence displayed by our industry partners in the design and construction of our housing projects."

HDB is on track to launch about 17,000 BTO flats this year and will increase supply of such homes next year.

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