Supergarden Revisited

Stumbled upon a previous issue of local design and architecture magazine 'd+a' from late last year and was greeted by its coverage of Singapore Supergarden, which involved the participation of selected local designers and architects at the 2008 Venice Bienale.

Our installation entitled "The Picnic" is shown on the bottom left of the second image below.

Again, a great job on the curatorial effort from our friends at Farmwork. It should be back on our shores for the local exhibition soon, details to be updated.

See also our previous post on Singapore Supergarden.


A Garden in the Forest

The restored barnhouse (from the previous post) is the site for an Interpretative Centre to be built by the National Parks Board at the Dairy Farm sector of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

What is interesting about the Dairy Farm Hut, as it is also known, is that not only does it sit curiously on the boundary of the nature reserve it is also very much surrounded by nature. It is connected to other similar 'installations' (red squares on the map above) and is a checkpoint along the Dairy Farm Loop, one of the main hiking trails negotiating the nature reserve.

[Image : National Parks Board]

The project brief for the Interpretative Centre called for the centre to be open not only to the public but also to nature. When we went to the site, we realised what that meant - the barnhouse did not have any doors.

Strategically this became the starting point for our proposal. Given that nature surrounds the barnhouse building in a pervasive way, in the same manner, the notion of being enveloped in nature will be critical for the experience within the Interpretative Centre. Also, we sought a position of the project as residing at the interface between man-made and nature, akin to its geological location on the boundary of the reserve. These 2 critical thoughts developed into a plan organisation and diagram of relations between the new qualities and conditions we were interested to explore.

The plan is organised into 3 concentric zones of experience. The first is a sensorial zone thought of as a conceptual forest which sees the continuation of nature from the surrounding environment taking over the ground and wall surfaces through time. The second is defined by 2 interwining ramps containing the exhibition circulation, of which the exhibition content can be similarly curated. Lastly the innermost zone houses a raised man-made garden with resting areas and seats cladded in astoturf. The garden itself is sustained by a large planter containing treated soil of depth to the level of the raised garden.

[All images by PLYSTUDIO unless otherwise stated]

Hence the title of this post. Lets hope we will get a chance to work on it further.

We will be updating our website soon with more project details and information.


A trip to nature

[Image : GoogleEarth]

A recent work assignment and job pitch brought us to this place right in the heart of our city state, the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Its hard to believe such nature existed amid our urbanised environment. Its 1.64 sqkm of area accounts for just 0.2% of Singapore's approximate total land area of 699.1 sqkm. Yet it is only 12 kilometres away and some 15 mins drive from the downtown core and financial district.

This is one of the largest areas of primary rainforest remaining today. Just imagine what the natural and geological characteristic of our island was more than 100 years ago. Today it is the site for popular hiking trails and considered one of the nation's 'attractions'. It is home to various spieces of flora and fauna, protected by the National Parks Act and managed by the National Parks Board.

Our impromptu site visit was obliged by the resident officer who led the way via a service road into the deep confines of the primary rainforest. Interestingly, what we experienced was none of that untouchable nature, but one that revealed the impact of urban intervention.

Arriving at the new carpark that was still under construction. Guess this place will be receiving quite a number of visitors.

Making our way into the forest in a way that we are used to.

Can't ride your motorcycle in here.

And finally arriving at the site for the project in question.

We were intriqued by what we saw to say the least. It was just amazing, a 'contemporary' styled barnhouse restored and completely modernised with new whitewashed interior walls and a brand new roof. Now all it needs is just some greenery so that it doesn't feel so out of place in the middle of a nature reserve.


Work in progress

Construction work has been progressing steadily the last 2 weeks, now the apartment is already more than half way complete. Below are some work in progress photos.

Entrance view

Builtup elements : cabinets, seating, platform, ledges etc

Sleeping platform

As always, communicating with builders with 1:1 sketches on site

New reveals and extension of the bay window

Next up - timber flooring


On Blueprint Asia

We are pleased to announce that J-Loft has been featured once again, this time in the latest issue of Blueprint Asia, volume 3 issue 1. Thanks to the editor and team. Do check it out at a newstand near you.


The Sail completed

Finally the
pics are out. Here is what it looks like before.

And after.

[Photos by Tzernstudio]

Further details will be updated onto the PLYSTUDIO website soon.