Design awards for HDB estates

Design awards for HDB estates

 

Sengkang, Ghim Moh estates score well for innovative design, user-friendly features

 

By Ong Bi Hui

 

HOUSING Board estates are not known for their innovative designs, but two cutting-edge ones are starting to change all that.

 

They have just become the first HDB estates to win design awards for both their good looks and user-friendly features.

 

The Coris, a precinct in Sengkang New Town, and the upgraded Ghim Moh Gardens estate, which is 32 years old, both won bronze awards at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Universal Design Awards.

 

‘Universal Design’ generally refers to design that allows users to get around easily, with easy-to-use facilities.

 

The BCA Awards were launched in September last year, and this year saw 34 entries, with most being refurbished buildings.

 

Both estates stood out due to their accessibility to residents, with seamless connectivity throughout.

 

The Coris at Sengkang, which has 14 residential blocks, had a comprehensive signage system so visitors can find their way around easily. There are also various recreational and communal facilities, including an area for the elderly to exercise, jogging tracks and pavilions.

 

Ghim Moh Gardens features wheelchair-friendly lifts that stop at every floor, safer clothes-drying racks and elderly-friendly toilets. Getting around is easy, with markets and bird- viewing spots all linked by sheltered walkways.

 

This year, three silver and six bronze awards were given in six categories of buildings: commercial, institutional, residential, open spaces, refurbished and open.

 

Other winners include Terminal 3 at Changi Airport and the National Museum of Singapore.

 

At last year’s awards, Ikea Tampines clinched the top prize, the gold award, but a prize in this category was not handed out this year.

 

Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, chairman of the award assessment panel, attributes this to it having ‘raised the bar’ this year.

 

He said: ‘Buildings need to be a holistic package. They must be comprehensive, integrative and have that special touch, while taking into account the owner’s corporate philosophy.’

 

Winners will receive their awards from Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan next Thursday. Those interested in applying for next year’s awards can visit http://www.bca.gov. sg.

 

Source: Straits Times

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