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An Urban Health Retreat

Part 2 Project 1999
Terence Chan
National University of Singapore, Singapore
This thesis attempts to address the notion of ‘social stress’ within the built environment, to offer alternatives for individuals to partake in stress relieving activities. It intends to provide ‘a counter-balance’ to the ills of urban living, facilitating beneficial engagement between users and the physical environment.

Taking the vehicle of a health retreat, it seeks to reintegrate city users back to ‘nature’, providing an environment for contemplation, relaxation and mediation. The parti, an envelope, derived from the site profile provides the shell of the building and governs the functional distribution of the programmes within the facility. The three main components of the retreat are mapped against the past fabric of the site.

The primary objective of the facility is to provide an environment for the healing of both the mental and physical well-being of the individuals. The very fact that it is located within the city, serves to address the primary concern for the facility in dealing with the fundamental relationship of urban workers, with regards to the stressful condition of the city.

As observed in the renewed interest and confidence in the promotion of holistic treatment, this project intends to build a respectable and professional image by consolidating such practices. This is consistent with the growing consumption of health products, services and related programmes.

Terence Chan

This project, a proposal for an urban health facility, is a sophisticated response to site context and socio-cultural contexts of Singapore. It is a complex incorporating various recreational and alternative health related facilities which cater to a young health-conscious urban population. The culture, priorities and aspirations of this group determined the mix of facilities and their interpretation. The site is the site of an old swimming pool on a long narrow site located between the low-rise historic shophouse fabric of Duxton Plain and modern high-rise public housing which did not allow for extensive outdoor landscape or views out of the site. The design deals with the integration of the various separate facilities, each with its own way of internally creating an awareness of natural elements and its own ambience appropriate to the housed function. It deals sensitively and realistically with issues of views, light and landscaping as well as overall circulation and servicing. Although a very complex building, the parts are individually well resolved to a high level of detail and the whole skilfully contained within an elegant architectural whole.

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