Singapore has become one of the most hyper-productive countries. Work has infiltrated our intrinsic lives, constantly pushing us to present an image of competency and an endless cycle of self-betterment. It is no surprise that Singapore has been called one of the most fatigued and overworked countries in the world, with 85% of its working population experiencing extreme burnout. Singaporeans live in a fast-paced environment where we are always chasing time, often making us lose touch with ourselves, our environment, and our relationships. One aspect that the pandemic has taught us is the importance of slowing down, taking our time, and allowing ourselves and the environment around us to recharge. In this post-pandemic future, many Singaporeans have come to rethink the meaning of ‘work-life balance in a space suitable, relevant, and thought-provoking to modern citizens. In this new normal, It is time to reset away from the burnout culture we are dearly accustomed to. Can we slow down and mitigate our fatigue alongside our healing nature? Can we identify the possibility of creating a ‘leisure productivity’ space driven by nature in our ever-bustling metropolitan city?

TimeOut is Singapore’s first rejuvenation hub that advocates a healthy fatigue-free lifestyle to combat the infamous burnout culture. Rejuvenating the mind, body, and soul, TimeOut envisions a space that uses our connection to people, nature, and ourselves as the antidote to feeling burnout. Located by the Kallang bay and in the open field of Kallang MRT station, this is the first of many TimeOut hubs that will be built in other MRT stations with vast unused greenery. As MRT is a common mode of commuting to work, it potently responds as a welcoming and highly accessible contact point for adults at risk of burnout to visit and recharge.

Acting as a wellness hub, Timeout provides nature-centric spaces that help burnout adults get back in the right rhythm. Meaning a time for rest and recreation away, TimeOut is inspired by the circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle part of the body’s internal clock, running in the background to carry out essential functions. When a person is having a burnout, his circadian rhythm is disrupted, affecting diverse aspects of physical and mental health. Using this circadian clock as the guiding design principle and the incorporation of lush green nature as a stimulant, TimeOut creates a circulation of space that promotes a healthier rhythm where one can slowly alleviate their restrictive work cycle and commence the ‘leisure productivity’ model instead.

The structure, clad with ceramic tiles, is round in shape to allow the circulation of space to flow smoothly from one another. Divided like a clock, each angular division leads to a space that caters to specific lifestyle activity that corresponds to the circadian rhythm. The main structure is divided into two. The 1st story consists of ‘active zones’; spaces with programs that promote leisure productivity. The 2nd story includes the ‘reflection zones’, areas that allow burnouts to self-reflect through the provision of a clinic with in-house counsellors and relaxing patios with a 360 view of nature to connect with their thoughts. In the centre, a large circular pavilion with a pond occupies the space where it serves multi-functional and community-building purposes. As work begins its exodus out of the office in this post- pandemic environment, the ‘active zones’ showcase combinations of private and fun collaborative working spaces where working adults can feel less fatigue in doing their work. It consists of recreation workshops that can be used to do both work or activities and personal hobbies keen to be explored. It also includes a quiet study area where private meetings and conventional work are held with a breath-taking view of nature and Kallang bay.

Entering the world's new phase, TimeOut imagines a future where the coexisting of nature with Singapore’s modern workers can be a great contributor to minimising the burnout pandemic. It provides a community that allows Singapore’s fatigue fighters to support one another, encouraging the importance of paying attention to our health and creating more autonomy for ourselves as we reset into the new normal. We, in fact, can work better only if we are healthy.

Return of the Nature Parks (as Super Structure)

The Urban Tarzan responds to the increasingly hostile urban environment of Downtown Singapore. It opposes the conventional typology of maximising floor plates for commercial, monetary and material culture. It also criticises the lack of physical playzone in the downtown district, where work and transaction dominates as the anchor programme. Hence, Urban Tarzan attempts to break the monopoly of the concrete jungle and display the heroic return of wilderness and fun in the city.

This project proposes an alternative typology of a high-rise tower that incorporates the operations of the public realm, ecological habitat and the climatic environment. The composition of the tower examines a computational form-generation methodology: discrete aggregation - where the assembly of the components is initiated and constructed through a bottom-up, peer-to-peer approach. This method of form generation allows the design to emulate nature in a constructive manner. The discrete construction is appropriated by the relations between aggregates, structural efficiency and spatial effectiveness.

The composition of the aggregates are investigated and iterated in a constant feedback loop to incorporate space, functions and services - activating what seems to just-so be a structural element into a device of spatial experience and system of ecology. This manifestation of a structure-only aggregate results in a porous and unpredictable outlook of the building where the inconsistency of the structural element negotiates and shapes the creation of architectural experiences - yielding a circulation path that dances around columns and beams, fragmented floorplates and decentralised service systems.

The Urban Tarzan challenges a park (naturally horizontal typology) as a vertical tower. It re-imagines how nature could be re-experienced in a modern superstructure setting that would provide a sense of freshness, wilderness and bionomics. Leveraging on the architecture form, an ecological system (as programme) is curated between human, plants as well as native and migratory bird species. The seemingly leftover site is revived and returned to nature - becoming a fundamental part of Selegie Road's ecological and urban habitat.

In the age of climate change and land scarcity, Urban Tarzan provides an alternate solution that brings nature even closer to home. It does not only seek to create additional green spaces, but to develop an ecological and circular system between the users, site, species and climate. Pre-fabrication and Timber Construction technology further reduces the carbon embodiment of our built environment. All in all, the Urban Tarzan suggests a proposal to inspire a paradigm shift in the attitudes and methodology towards high-dense development and commercialism.

The Project is located at the junction of Selegie Road and Short Street near Rochor, Singapore. The site is currently occupied by the ‘Ten Square, Landmark of Good’, car display tower. The project has a site area of only 124 sqm with a 64m height limit. The key consideration of the site includes: climate study, surrounding architecture morphology, functions of building, user livelihood and birds habitation.

Urban Tarzan attempts to function like a nature park. To stimulate an ecological system, specific species of plants are selected for the growth and attraction of birds, insects and other animals. Furthermore, planter boxes are allocated for the incubation of nursery. It is expected that the planter boxes are refreshed seasonally which would result in a new outlook to the tower every few years. The users transit through the tower by an elevator or steps. Circulation paths are unexpected and provide quiet spaces for contemplation; zones for social gathering; viewpoints for scenes and nature appreciation. Slides, made only possible through verticality, are added to act as a ‘teleportation’/’wild-card’ device to instantly transport users into different zones of fresh experience. It also acts as a quick escape device to exit or move through the building in a faster manner.

The structural design intention is to minimise embodied carbon whilst providing maximum maintainability. This is achieved with pre-fabricated components and timber construction. All parts of the tower are constructed through All parts of the tower are constructed through a kit of parts – including but not limited to: structure; floor grills; hand-rails; planters; seats; bird-house. Four Timber Columns are secured to +-shaped steel plates. The length of each timber column is maximised for prefabrication delivery of a container truck. The gaps between the timbers acts like a rail-system for other components (eg. Planter, floor-grilles) to be ledged onto it. This means that components of the building can be easily removed/swapped for maintenance or re-organisation purposes. All Urban Tarzan services are decentralised – It collects rainwater, stores and disperses to the planters directly. It functions naturally through the act of gravity and does not require a pump from the water mains.

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The AYDA Awards is part of Nippon Paint’s vision to nurture the next generation of Architectural and Interior Design talents. It serves as a platform to inspire students of these disciplines to develop their skills through cross-learning.

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