Transforming an icon into a new era of housing estate living
Central Horizon is a high-rise, high-density public housing redevelopment project initiated by the Singapore Government, through the Housing & Development Board (HDB), a Statutory Board under the Ministry of National Development. The 3.1ha site consists of five 40 storey tower blocks linked by 11 storey 'podium' blocks in curvilinear form. In addition to the 1158 dwelling units, there are commercial and communal facilities, a multi-storey car park (MSCP) with a landscaped roof garden and a sky garden on the roof of the residential blocks.
The predecessor to Central Horizon was Singapore landmark both in terms of physical design (i.e. the longest curved residential block in Singapore built in the 1960s as a quick fix for Singapore’s rapidly-growing population) and in its social and community ties. It was demolished in September 2003 to make way for newer ones to address new housing needs and optimise land use.
As one of Singapore's first housing estates, it has developed a distinct character through the years. The vision for redevelopment was therefore to; create a totally new era in public housing quality, one that would increase the value and appeal to a new generation of residents;
deliver three times as many apartments on the existing land footprint and be sufficiently attract new owners to the area; enhance sustainability and the green environment; and to preserve the heritage of the site.
To prepare the design approach the architects spent significant time on two elements: how to create a new sense of presence while retaining its historical identity, and how to create a sense of cohesion between a significantly enlarged development and its surroundings.
To create a sense of presence and harmonise the development with its surrounds, SURBANA designed five 40-storey tower blocks set apart to house the apartments. The design offered views of across Singapore yet limited the impact on the surrounding developments. The blocks have passive low-energy design with natural lighting and ventilation to reduce the overall energy consumption of the buildings.
11-storey podium blocks were used, designed in curvilinear form to connect each of the towers and echo the heritage of the site. To limit the impact of the increased car parking, the architects integrated their accommodation into the residential blocks.
To herald a new era of quality the architects introduced multi-tiered landscaping with greenery at three levels: ground, roof level (roof of the MSCP) and sky level (roof of residential blocks). These provide a variety of communal spaces as well as delivering an aesthetic means to soften and impact of the building exterior. It insulates the residential units below and reduces glare off the roofs of surrounding buildings.
Given the space constraints the island-state faces, Central Horizon is a successful model for optimising land use in a mature housing estate by increasing the density of a site without creating a sense of congestion. The five high-rise towers dot Singapore with a new skyline and strong visual landmark in Toa Payoh townscape.
It is a role model for the development of a new era in HDB Housing not only in terms of design but also as model for future sustainability.
It has demonstrated in shaping a safe, high quality, sustainable and friendly built environment and earned three awards:HDB Design Excellence Award 2008, BCA Universal Design Award for Built Environment 2009 and SIA-Nparks Skyrise Greenery Award 2009