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Want! Spaces

Part 1 Project 2001
Nan Chyuan Tiah
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore
“If you can create the want, physical distance becomes negligible”

The competition challenged the vertical possibilities of an entertainment complex and the use of glass, as both a theoretical and tectonic material.

Issues like Commercialism and Consumerism were discussed. The intention was to explore the use glass as a mediator between the new commercial spaces and existing green spaces. A metaphor for the relationship between man and commercialism and the way we shape our cities. Glass is explored as a narrative material, a medium to translate this dialogue into physical form and space.

The services of the building are extracted out from the main facility and expressed as a separate opaque tower contrasting with the main commercial volume, which is articulated as a highly interactive and transparent glass tower. The commercial volume is made up of two main masses stacked vertically with a void in between. This void becomes the Big City Room, the complex's main public space. The existing surface car park on site is converted into a green space, a precious pause space in the city. This new ‘atrium’ becomes the focal point of the site. It is connected to the rest of the facility by a long escalator that brings the street up eight stories into the Big City Room. The ride through a canopy of trees becomes the experience of entrance.

The building attempts to blur the boundaries between where the city stops and where the building begins. It interacts with the city through the new atrium space, and integrates with the existing circulation routes around the site through a series of folding landscapes, connections and seamless entrances.

A towering presence in the heart of the shopping district. The building creates a public statement, a point of orientation and reflection in the city.

Nan Chyuan Tiah


The project (adapted from a brief for the ACSA-DuPont Benedictus Student Competition 2001) is very ambitious, complex, and large scale - the design of a multipurpose retail entertainment complex on an urban site that mandated consideration of a very high plot ratio. This typology is by its nature, difficult to succeed with a small footprint and multi-levels above six storeys.

This student's submission, entitled "Want! Spaces" is located on the difficult triangulated site at Orchard Road (a major urban commercial street) between an underground mass transit station and a highrise hotel. How to introduce and induce multi-levels of 'ground', the right mix of uses, clusters, and 'anchors', how to harness the opportunities of the existing site as a transportation and pedestrian node, and the revelation of interior activities throughout the day and night - these are some of the crucial concepts he has to get right. The twin vertical planes of activities, one transparent, the other opaque, and both tapering toawrds the apex of the corner site provide a dynamic formal assertion of programme. This transposition of ground into wall, with the elegant glass lantern front counterpoint to the textured service rear, provide a highly 'entertaining' contrast of consumption, exhibition, narcissism, introversion, and 'elevated' desires.

2001
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