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.

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