AWARDS: The Tembusu — Contemporary living redefines heritage site

/ EdgeProp |
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Wing Tai Holdings’ The Tembusu project received two awards — for Development Excellence and Development Innovation — at the inaugural EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards 2017 ceremony held on Oct 23.
“We have always had high expectations of our developments, and we are delighted that The Tembusu has exceeded them,” says Edmund Cheng, deputy chairman of Wing Tai Holdings.
“This beautiful development is located where our early factories and first headquarters used to be, where we began our journey of sinking in roots and growing in Singapore. The Tembusu will always be a special project for me and for many of our staff.”
At the concept development stage of The Tembusu, Cheng held detailed discussions with the design architects, Khoo Peng Beng and Belinda Huang, the husband-and-wife team of Arc Studio Architecture + Urbanism.
The Tembusu is Wing Tai’s 50th anniversary development and represents its culture of steady long-term growth. Credit: Wing Tai Holdings
“It’s about preserving heritage — modernising the built environment, yet retaining its spirit,” says Cheng. “We chose the Singapore-based practice for their imagination, creativity and openness to a diversity of ideas and to change; we were confident Arc Studio would help us realise our vision for the site.”
The 337-unit The Tembusu was launched in 2013 to coincide with Wing Tai’s 50th anniversary celebration. As Wing Tai’s corporate logo is a Tembusu tree, which symbolises longevity and the quality of being evergreen, the name was adopted for the project.
Completed last year and fully sold, The Tembusu is situated on a 141,540 sq ft freehold site. It comprises five 18-storey interconnected blocks linked by sky bridges and sky gardens.
Designed by husband-and-wife team, Khoo Peng Beng and Belinda Huang, the architecture of The Tembusu is inspired by the sites’ past as the location of Wing Tai’s former garment factory. Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore
Arc Studio’s Khoo says the inspiration for the design came from “the act of weaving”, which gave it a conceptual connection to the site’s heritage.
For this development, Arc Studio worked closely with the landscape architect, Tierra Design, helmed by chairman and principal Franklin Po.
One of the defining features of the project is the delicate, threadlike creepers and vines around the columns, which interweave with the architecture to form “an organic, living façade, bringing the landscape closer to the residential units”, says Po.
“The greenery that drapes over two sky links creates an even more intimate experience with nature.” The vertical filaments of creepers and vines of different varieties also create a soft, fresh façade that contrasts with the vertical steel columns.
They act as “a giant environmental filter” and create an interesting textured exterior, adds Khoo.
A lush network of greenery encircles the sky terraces, spilling over into private enclosed spaces and forming semi-private gardens. Credit Wing Tai
There are community herb gardens at pavilions on the first, sixth and 18th floors. Such communal spaces are designed to promote social interaction among residents.
An observation deck and a lounge on the 12th floor are conceived as “gardens in the sky” to extend the landscape area and create vertical greenery. These gardens also act as a “semi-private garden” for units located on those levels.
The resort-like residence has facilities throughout the development, such as pools of various sizes, thematic pavilions and a private clubhouse.
Community and social engagement are encouraged through innovative design, and centred on areas for family-friendly activities. Credit: Wing Tai
Besides greenery, the project has also incorporated sustainability into the water elements of its landscape.
Meandering water features along the lush vegetation act as water retention basins to collect rainwater, which can then be channelled to the ponds and streams that form part of the landscape.
The efficient rainwater harvesting can sustain the planted landscape areas and release the excess water through vegetated swales that act as pollutant filters before the water is discharged into the public system.
The steam and sauna rooms adjacent to the pool are designed to showcase elements of nature. Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore
The blocks also have a north-south orientation as part of its passive design to reduce heat gain and maximise cross-ventilation.
Within the project is a wide range of units to suit every lifestyle — from 474 sq ft, one-bedroom units to 1,367 sq ft, four-bedroom units. There are also three-bedroom, dual-key units of 1,216 to 1,464 sq ft, — ideal for investors and extended families — as well as four- and five-bedroom penthouses of 2,863 to 3,886 sq ft.
Situated amid low-rise apartments and condos, The Tembusu offers residents impressive vistas from the sky terraces
“Just as our garment factories improved the lives of thousands in the region through employment and job opportunities in the industrialisation years, [The Tembusu] has now translated [the space] into quality lifestyle residences in a sustainable environment and a great investment value for buyers,” says Wing Tai’s Cheng.

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