A vertical village by the city

By The Interlace Connections / Brought to you by Capitaland Singapore | August 1, 2016 1:44 PM SGT
How The Interlace beat other world-class projects to clinch the world building of the year title

Source: Chia Guo Xiang (Singapore), Capitaland ‘Building People’ Photography Contest 2014

Last year, The Interlace clinched the prestigious World Building of the Year title at the World Architecture Festival (WAF) 2015. Office for Met­ropolitan Architecture (OMA) and German-born architect Ole Scheeren were the lead designers of the 1,040-unit condominium, which was developed by a CapitaLand-led con­sortium.
For those who are less acquainted with ar­chitecture awards, WAF is dubbed the Oscars of the architectural world and the awards are the crème-de-la-crème of the architecture accolades.
Every year since 2008, architects from across the globe would enter their projects into one or more of the over 30 building categories in the WAF – ranging from Civic & Community to Sport and Transport – to compete for a spot in the final.
The Interlace was shortlisted as a finalist in the WAF 2015, along with 337 other develop­ments. Architects for the shortlisted projects must personally pitch their submission to a panel of international judges, who would critique and challenge them. The intense two-day process took place in front of a live audience to facilitate an exchange of ideas and ensure transparency.
Judges have been appointed based on strin­gent criteria including outstanding reputation as an architect or allied professional, expertise in a particular development, geographical origin to ensure a balanced representation, and from among previous winners of the WAF awards.
The Interlace was first named winner in the Completed Buildings-Housing category. It then vied with 16 other category winners for the World Building of the Year title.
To win, projects must push boundaries in both forms and functions. They must also be deeply-rooted in the communities that they serve. Essentially, they must exemplify the future of cities and architecture.
The Interlace was lauded as a trailblazer for its bold design, which features 31 interlocking blocks, conceived as a vertical village.
The blocks are arranged in hexagonal grids to allow for generous distance between each home and maximum privacy, while the interlocking design connects the residents together to foster social cohesion.
“Cities are dominated by tower blocks which create isolation. With The Interlace, I wanted to create a new type of living that was about connectivity, about a sense of community rather than individuality and isolation,” says Scheeren.
Scheeren arranged the blocks in hexagonal grids to allow for generous distance between each home and maximum privacy. Because of the site’s natural elevation, the blocks do not face each other and residents enjoy unobstructed views.
At the same time, the interlocking design connects the residents together which fosters social cohesion. The buildings envelope eight outdoor courtyards – Central Square, Water Park, Play Hills, Spa Valley, Theatre Plaza, Bamboo Garden, Lotus Pond and Waterfall Terrace – providing shades, making them usable for communal and personal activities all day long.
To win WAF awards, projects must push architecture boundaries and be deeply-rooted in the communities that they serve

Source: Melanie Lim (Singapore), Capitaland ‘Building People’ Photography Contest 2014

The Interlace went on to score on sustainability. The criss-crossing blocks create pockets of spaces, forcing wind to travel through them and increasing their speed. This results in a wind tunnel effect which makes the development cool and windy all year round.
Scheeren also placed water bodies along the wind corridors and made use of the water vapour to further cool the development and enhance the quality of living of the residents.
Greenery, such as sky gardens and planted terraces, is incorporated in multiple locations throughout the buildings. Together with the lush tropical foliage on the ground, The Interlace has green spaces that covers 112% of the development site area. As a result, there is more nature on the site than before it was built, says Scheeren.
After the live judging, The Interlace was named winner of the World Building of The Year title. Internationally acclaimed architect Sir Peter Cook, who led the judging in WAF 2015, was quoted by CNN saying, “The Interlace makes a major urban statement. It gives you a horizontal city with the interweaving of space and vegetation. It’s a game-changer.”
Play hills - one of the eight outdoor courtyards at The Interlace
The Interlace stands on a site that is unique in many ways, which poses a rare opportunity to create a bespoke development. For one, the site is elevated on a sloping hill and nestled within a 10km stretch of greenery, the Southern Ridges. It is also in a prime location which is a mere 10-minute drive from the Central Business District and 15 minutes from the Orchard Road shopping belt.
To develop the site to its full potential, Cap­itaLand chose to partner with Scheeren who has made global statement through his unconventional and stunning architecture including the China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters in Beijing and MahaNakhon, a mixed-use devel­opment in Bangkok.
Ole Scheeren, one of the lead designers at The Interlace, is also behind other iconic buildings such as the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing.
Although Scheeren is celebrated for his iconic, even provocative design, he thinks of architecture as the stories of the people who live or work in the building. Scheeren also defines great archi­tecture as one that creates positive experiences for its residents.
Scheeren says it was a special moment for him to walk through The Interlace as a completed project for the first time and to discover the in­credible richness of its space, dramatic sceneries and diverse atmospheres.
“What made me happiest was the sense of lightness and freedom that I felt in this place… a lightness of an open, permeable construct of fluid spaces and courtyards, of floating building volumes, of tropical landscapes and gardens, and a freedom to choose between so many different moods and emotional environments,” he concedes.
This year’s WAF counts Scheeren as one of the acclaimed judges, along with other heavyweights including David Chipperfield and Kai-Uwe Berg­mann. More than 300 finalists will be vying for the 2016’s coveted World Building of the Year title. Once again, the shortlisted projects are nothing short of spectacular, from a jungle house in Brazil to a mountain museum in Italy.
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