March 11, 2009 Wednesday

Waterfront estate design contest a big draw

By Jessica Cheam

An artist's impression of Punggol Waterway. Five shortlisted firms will design a 4.9ha site there. -- PHOTO: HDB

A COMPETITION to design Punggol's first waterfront homes has attracted a huge response from local and foreign architects.

A technical seminar held yesterday for participating architectural firms drew a turnout of more than 200 people, all keen to have a say in how Singapore's first waterfront public housing estate will take shape.

Architects have to design a masterplan for a 26.6ha housing district west of Punggol's town centre by April17.

Five shortlisted firms will go on to design a more detailed 4.9ha site along the Punggol Waterway. This phase of the competition closes on Aug 21.

The top design will be announced and exhibited in November, with the winning team contracted to execute its masterplan. The Housing Board plans to offer the waterfront homes by mid-2010.

The winner will be awarded $300,000, which is part of the consultancy fee for the project. Two merit winners will also be chosen and awarded $100,000 each, said the HDB.

Its deputy chief executive of building, Mr Lau Joo Ming, yesterday urged the architects at the seminar to be 'bold...and dare to be different'.

He said the competition is open to anyone, from young upstarts to established local and foreign firms.

The HDB has devised a theme for the estate - Green Living By The Waters - and hopes architects will conjure up fresh ideas and concepts around it.

It also hopes that the winning design will succeed in building up the estate's population to the point where it can support wider recreational and commercial facilities, activating its recreational coastline and enhancing the town's transport routes and connectivity.

Among the local firms at the seminar were DP Architects, RSP Architects, Woha Architects and Surbana International Consultants.