LOOK Architects: Punggol Promenade as a waterfront landscape insertion within the surrounding urban setting allows visitors to revel in a poetic interlude intertwining shifting planes of time and space – memories of a bygone era are evoked through embodiment of signifiers and reality melds with processes of re-familiarization to yield new layers of meaning. The experience becomes so immerse and personal that a comforting sense of reconciliation with nature is inspired.
The expansiveness of water and sky seen from Punggol Point beach seems to stretch infinitely, obliterating the nearby towering neighborhood of public housing, as the linearity of the safety railing sitting on black pigmented concrete plinths coaxes the eyes to be led towards the horizon. The severity of this bold color treatment carries undertones of sobriety in tribute to Punggol Point beach as a World War II memorial site, a sliver of history that is otherwise little known. One may see the viewing deck overlooking Punggol Point beach bearing resemblance to the hull of oil tankers dotting the surrounding waters, but its piercingly sharp silhouette may echo the scathing wounds of war for another.
Composition of materials applied throughout the 4.9km long promenade make up a rich palette recalling the rustic character of old Punggol, a district which used to be populated with rural ‘kampong’ communities keeping farms and plantations. Richly saturated hues of porous pebble, oxidized steel and laterite speak of a genuine, down-to-earth honesty that endears to the uprooted instability of urbanized society, while the weathered texture of simulated GRC (glass fibre reinforced concrete) timber planks instills a continual tactility along the meandering pedestrian path.
Interspersed along the promenade are sculpturally shaped rest shelters offering much welcomed respite from the tropical heat. A steel structure in aluminium cladding, the rest shelter is shaped as a dynamic swirling form that draws inspiration from elements of the coastal context, emulating the rolling sea waves and the corkscrew shell. The external cladding is configured out of a single triangulated module, which through calculated permutation adopts the distinctive geometry. Versatility of this configuration has been demonstrated in the semi-enclosed envelop of the rest shelter, a design consideration safeguarding against anti-social behavior. The armor-like envelop would develop a weathered patina over time, the character of which melds with the down-to-earth charm of the promenade. Inner faces of the shelter – interlocking trapezoidal aluminium panels strengthening the envelop – have a soft sheen which captures the ambient mood of surroundings by reflecting the changing hues of light throughout the day
Poetic speculation on man-made artifice and nature is inspired by calculated framing of tenderly stirred by calculated juxtapositions – whether glancing upon a lily pond by the seaside, or hovering close to the water edge on a cantilevered look-out platform – to rouse an invigorated connection to landscape and nature.
Architecture, Urban design: LOOK Architects Pte Ltd
Location: Punggol, Singapore
Area: 78,000 sqm
Client: Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore
Principal designer: Look Boon Gee
Design team: Ng Sor Hiang, Anton Siura, Lee Liting, Friska Siswanto
C&SL engineer: SM1 Consulting Engineers
M&E engineer: HY M&E Consultancy Services Pte Ltd
Quantity surveyor: OTN Building Cost Consultants Pte Ltd
Main contractor : Horti-Flora Services Pte Ltd
Text & photos: LOOK Architects Pte Ltd