Makeover plans for Pasir Panjang Power District

An artist's impression from a concept submitted by Singapore University of Technology and Design graduate students. Their main idea centres on incorporating water into the site through the collection of rainwater and the channelling of nearby seawate
The Pasir Panjang Power District is home to two red-brick main station buildings, round oil tanks and ancillary buildings, and it will be one of the first few sites to be developed along the Greater Southern Waterfront. PHOTO: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
An artist's impression from a concept submitted by Singapore University of Technology and Design graduate students. Their main idea centres on incorporating water into the site through the collection of rainwater and the channelling of nearby seawate
An artist’s impression from a concept submitted by Singapore University of Technology and Design graduate students. Their main idea centres on incorporating water into the site through the collection of rainwater and the channelling of nearby seawater.PHOTO: HENDRIKO TEGUH SANGKANPARAN, NUR FADHILAH NORDIN, SALLY TAN, LUN CI MIN

London's Bankside Power Station was converted into the world-famous art museum Tate Modern, while Lisbon's water-facing Tejo Power Station is now an energy museum.

By the mid-2020s, Singapore's Pasir Panjang Power District could host concepts such as a drone race course, a hobby factory run by seniors, a hotel, residences, giant slides or even a floating pool perched along the coast.

It will be one of the first few sites to be developed along the Greater Southern Waterfront, a stretch from Marina East to Pasir Panjang that will be transformed for residential and leisure use as the port shifts to Tuas.

The ideas, put forth by members of the public and architects, are now on display at the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Maxwell Road Centre, following a call for ideas to reimagine the place last year.

The waterfront land parcel will be released for development, possibly through a tender, sometime next year, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday.

The authorities also launched a Request for Information (RFI) exercise for private developers and other interested parties to weigh in and give their input on the feasibility of the site's redevelopment.

The RFI exercise will build on the results of the ideas competition, and facilitate detailed discussion with developers and possible future users of the site. This will help further refine the parameters to make the site attractive and viable.

Ms Claire Chan, URA's director of physical planning in Central West Singapore, said the RFI broadly captures three key concepts derived from the public's submissions.

It spells out that potential developers should make use of the existing open spaces within the district's 15ha area while respecting its existing structures and heritage, that public spaces around the site and along the waterfront will be accessible to the public, and that the district will be plugged into the Greater Southern Waterfront.

The power station district, which comprises two red-brick main station buildings, round oil tanks and ancillary buildings, is the size of about 21 football fields.

At the launch of the exhibition yesterday, Mr Wong said the authorities will further refine the planning parameters of the site following the RFI exercise, which closes in April.

 
 
 
 

He said: "This is a much more involved process than what would typically happen, where URA decides the parameters and then we will just go straight to a land tender. But I think it is worthwhile taking some time to go through such a process. It is part of our 'Singapore Together' movement to involve more Singaporeans in shaping our nation's future."

He added: "Redevelopment for Singapore does not mean having to tear down or demolish all our old buildings."

A total of 10 submitted concepts picked up cash prizes worth between $500 and $3,000. The entries were judged by architectural, planning and heritage professionals.

Among the winners was a group of graduate students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

The students designed a site that turns Power Station A into a mixed-use hydro hub, and adds low-rise residences, co-living spaces and offices to other parts of the district. Their main idea centres on incorporating water into the site through the collection of rainwater and the channelling of nearby seawater. They said the water can then be tapped for everyday use as well as lifestyle purposes such as fishing and shallow water frolicking.

Group member Nur Fadhilah Nordin, 22, who is doing her master's in architecture, said: "We designed it to suit the context of the area - as a town on the water's edge. It builds on our historical struggle to be water sufficient and reconfigures how we integrate land and water."

Power stations A and B, which date back to the 1950s and 1960s, were decommissioned in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively. The plant was put out of business by cleaner and more efficient power stations.

Power Station A was reopened for ad hoc public events in 2018. Power Station B will be occupied by offices until next year.

The power station compound is one of about 5,000 properties which are managed by the Singapore Land Authority.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2020, with the headline 'Makeover plans for Pasir Panjang Power District'. Print Edition | Subscribe