Singapore’s One-North development is representative of the nation’s commitment and progress into the knowledge and innovation-intensive economy that is rapidly sweeping Asia. Comprising of three purpose built compounds – Biopolis, Fusionopolis and Mediapolis – the complex provides a space where private-sector and public-sector organisations can interact, collaborate and develop programmes congruously. Residential spaces, office towers, commerce centres, universities and schools, as well as parks and playgrounds, all exist within One-North, creating a unified, well facilitated hub – a “self sustaining centre where you can live, work, learn and be inspired by leading scientists, researchers and technopreneurs from around the world”. Fusionopolis, the focus of this piece, is dedicated specifically to research and development in the Infocomm Technology, Media, Physical Sciences and Engineering Industries. Made up of business and residential space, the compound hosts threedifferent structures, each dedicated to a specific purpose but ultimately grouped together to form synergistic collaborations with each other. Completed in 2008, Phase 1 consists of three towers (Connexis North, Connexis South and Symbiosis) and houses serviced apartments, retail outlets, technological consulting companies and media studios. Designed by Japanese architect Dr. Kisho Kurokawa, Phase 1 was envisioned as a layered city, stacking all the services, offices, shops and homes in one concealed case. Noted for its sustainable design, the three towers utilise solar controlled glass to inhibit heat intake and each tower’s core has been left open and empty to serve as a fresh air duct for each floor. Further to this, roof gardens have been implemented throughout the three towers, acting as a cooling measure for the buildings interior as well as a relaxation space for workers and residents. As one reviewer remarked: “In hectic Singapore, it is more efficient to bring nature to the office than the other way round. The inhabitants don’t have to go all the way down to the ground floor and can find those few moments of tranquillity … right on their doorstep.” Combining convenience, sustainability and proximity to services lies at the heart of Fusionopolis, enabling Singaporeans to conduct their lives in a concentrated space and maintain efficiency at all times – a concept that serves the dense urban layout of Singapore ideally.
Phase 2 of Fusionopolis consists of two buildings, both focused on public and private sector scientific research and business ventures. The un-named building known as Phase 2A houses the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency of Science, Technology and Research and serves as a test bed for new technologies, dry and wet labs, clean rooms and vibration sensitive test bedding. Phase 2B, also now known as Solaris, was designed by renowned green architect Ken Yeang, and features 500,000 sqm of business park and laboratory space. From its inception, Ken Yeang was committed to making Solaris his most green building to date, an achievement that saw it listed for the RIBA Lubetkin prize and certified with a platinum BCA green mark rating (97.5%). Rather than removing or compromising on green space surrounding the building site, Solaris increased the amount of vegetation, ‘integrating inorganic human systems within their ever-evolving ecological context.’ Standing at a ratio of 108% of landscape to site area, the structure features terraced gardens on every floor, vertical gardens and incorporates a 1.5 kilometre long linear green ramp that stretches from the base floor and winds its way up throughout every level’s garden and terrace – a feature implemented to allow for the connection of ecosystems and the movement of species between them to improve biodiversity on site. The eco-infrastructure of Solaris serves a multitude of purposes, including acting as an ambient cooling strategy for the buildings façade, increasing moisture as a means of cooling the interior, stimulating ventilation around the building and as a social and interactive space for occupants, subsequently improving people’s sense of well being and motivation levels. In conjunction with green space, Solaris also features a selection of passive features, each contributing to the overall reduction of energy consumption by 36% within the building. The façade of the building was designed in response to the local sun-path, a study that revealed the necessary shape and depth of the sunshade louvres to produce optimum shade and minimal heat transfer, but still allowed for gentle daylight in the interior spaces. Realising the importance of natural light, Yeang integrated a large diagonal light shaft through the upper floors of the taller tower, encouraging daylight to enter deep into the buildings interior and subsequently activating a system of sensors that automatically turns off artificial lighting if adequate day-light is available. Natural ventilation is also utilised, primarily in the atrium, where a climate controlled glass louvered roof allows cool air in and blocks out rain or harsh winds – an element that has eliminated the need for air conditioning completely. Lastly, an extensive rainwater harvesting system has been implemented to hold up to 700 cubic metres of water for irrigation of the green spaces. The overall passive design of the Solaris building serves as an example of how sustainable architecture can be achieved, comfort can be maintained and eco-systems and construction can integrate.
Fusionopolis, and even on a greater scale One-North, sets the benchmark for urban green complexes. Combining green space, facilities, residences and office space in one hub reduces transport issues, connects people with the outdoors, promotes sustainability as the norm rather than the exception and if constructed and maintained with energy efficiency in mind, dramatically reduces energy consumption. Furthermore it proves that large-scale developments can be environmentally responsive, engage with passive measures and simultaneously be technologically advanced, meet occupant’s comfort expectations and promote social well-being. As city’s such as Singapore continue to expand, the development of skyscrapers is going to become even more necessary. Thus, designing sustainable, all encompassing complexes such as One-North are setting the precedent for future developments, and quite possibly the new lifestyle choice for individuals.