URA CUBE CHALLENGE 2017

24 May 2018

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Nine Diploma in Architecture Year 1 students received an 'Outstanding' award for their urban design of Mei Chin Estate (located in Queenstown) as part of URA's 2017 CUBE Challenge.

CUBE is a tertiary level competition on redesigning notable urban areas around Singapore. Last year's theme was to rejuvenate Mei Chin @ Queenstown - Singapore's first ever satellite town. As part of the workshop, students from 15 junior colleges and polytechnics in Singapore conducted analysis and learnt URA’s efforts, such as Car-lite and active green spaces, on redeveloping Singapore.

During a week-long workshop, students had to create a master plan, model, and present their vision for Mei Chin with help from practicing architects and university students.  The SP’s team conceptualised on rejuvenating Mei Chin into a vibrant 'heartware' for Queenstown that inculcates a culture for healthy living, titled 'Heartbeat @ Mei Chin'.

One of team members, Bryan Lee, believes that "one has to put yourself in the shoes of its residents to understand the site meaningfully", a belief which led them to be part of the Top 3 teams.  Heartbeat@Mei Chin used the basis of 3 main components - the Heart, the Rhythm, the Vessels - to encapsulate the proposed urban plan, highlighting a need for social activity, accessibility and healthy living.

A revamped sports stadium represented the Heart, sunken so as to further amplify engagement around the vicinity and to act as a water catchment area. Filled with communal amenities, it is centred on pumping the blood of Queenstown, which are its residents.

The Rhythm represents the multitudinous nodes of the area and focuses on high and low energy activities to encourage a healthy lifestyle. The six health types were used as foundations, such as Physical (comprises sports facilities dispersed around the area), Mental (proposing a conducive library to those who seek knowledge), Emotional (featuring an Amphitheatre as a display for expression and the Arts), Environmental (revamping a canal into a luxurious river), Social and Spiritual (a community garden).

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Lastly, the vessels help keep each side of Mei Chin accessible. Aside from the building form, which focuses on large voids for easy passage and visual connectivity, pathways circulate all over the site, providing options for both walking and cycling.

The competition has seen numerous proposals and ideas from different schools which were judged by practicing architects and urban designers.  SP's proposal, Mei Chin Heartbeat, clinched an Outstanding Award, and was presented to Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of National Development on 12th April 2018.

Only time will tell what these young minds have prepared for Singapore in the future

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