Singapore’s Super Trees 3: Arboreal Elements in Architecture
Welcome to Day 3 of Singapore’s Super Trees here on DDOA! Today we look into the two well celebrated and frequented places in Singapore that possess ARBOREAL ELEMENTS in ARCHITECTURE.
The builders of these structures have not outrightly called them trees, but after you’ve seen these photos and read this post you will agree that without a shadow of a doubt- these designs are tree-inspired.
The Tree-Like Columns of ION
“Breaking new design ground, Benoy has introduced Singapore’s first pure monocoque façade and canopy structure at ION Orchard. Benoy’s design for ION Orchard makes direct reference to the contours and lines of fruit and nuts; the retail canopy draws on the metaphors of ‘skin’ and ‘foliage’ while the iconic tower design is based on the concept of ‘roots and shoots’ growing up out of the canopy below. In collaboration with Arup’s façade engineering team, the canopy continues into the skin, wrapping the whole podium in mild curves, resembling a fruit peel. The powerful organic presence communicated through a uniquely free form feel, amorphous cladding and tree-like columns provoke interaction between visitor and destination.” Read more
Although the ALSOP Architects named these canopies “ANGELS”, for me their design and function still resemble trees more than anything else. Thus, I have included them in today’s feature on Arboreal Elements in Architecture. Hear me out…
1- They stand tall.
2- Their canopies have leaf patterns.
3- They provide ‘shading and cooling’, protecting visitors against extremes of Singapore climate.
4- They cover streets.
Doesn’t that sound more like a ‘tree’ than an ‘angel’ to you?
Photography by Michael Wortman
“Alsop’s first major project in Asia, a dramatic redevelopment of the river front district of Clarke Quay in Singapore, gives the area a new identity and repositions Clarke Quay as a vibrant and attractive destination.
For Alsop the challenge was to provide a new lease of life not just by developing an attractive redesign of the streetscape and waterfront but also to address the perennial climate problem, and to find ways to mitigate against the Singapore ambient temperature and heavy rainfall, without resorting to the traditional scenario of creating an internal air conditioned mall.
The streetscape has been transformed into a pleasant climate-moderated environment of landscaped arcades. Elegant canopies, providing environmentally friendly shading and cooling, which protect visitors against the extremes of the Singaporean climate and maintain the temperature at 28 degree Celsius, cover the four internal streets and central courtyard.
Known as the “Angels“, the willowy umbrella-like structures comprise ETFE (Ethyl Tetra Fluro Ethylene) cushioned canopies, supported on steel frames. Cantilevering over the roofs of adjacent shop houses, the Angels provide solar shading and rain protection.
Tree planting in the streets provides further shading and solar absorbency and the installation of a feature fountain in the centre of the restaurant-lined courtyard affords further visual and cooled environmental benefit.
The frames of the Angels support large Whale-tail slow speed fans that provide a low level artificial breeze in the streets.” Read more on arcspace
“Angels”, tree-like canopies
Designed by Alsop Architects
Part of Redevelopment & Revitalization of the river front district
of Clarke Quay in Singapore
Photography by Michael Wortman
Read more about the Redevelopment Project on arcspace