Breathe: Healing Architecture | Elizabeth Lum & Matthew Tsou

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This week we made the final refinements and adjustments to our form before producing for and having final review.

Final Problem Statement

In line with Singapore’s 2020 healthcare masterplan of transitioning from healthcare to health, our facility aims to make more convenient the process of health check-ups, whilst simultaneously promoting health and wellness. Convenience is achieved through a roving one stop centre servicing multiple generations. On the other hand, wellness is embodied by multiple aspects of our design including, fresh air and its perception. The transience of the setup creates novelty and drums up excitement, which serves to draw people in.

This structure employs a double membrane system that incorporates filtration devices, alongside a hybrid system of positively pressured beams and a negatively pressured membrane that gives the space its structural form, with a neutrally-pressured internal space. This space consists of floor plates at varying heights that have restraints running from the floor plates to the inner membrane, delineating the internal spaces based on the program. Additionally the characteristics of the air is manipulated to intuitively denote the space.

The external form is unchanging and iconic, allowing it to be instantly recognisable as a beacon of health. Conversely, the internal space is reconfigurable relative to health trends and needs.


Building upon work done in week 12, we added lift, stair cores, railings and other platform details to more fully flesh out the structure. Further rationalisation was also done for our platforms, platform placement, sizing and modules. Each module is 2m wide and each arc segment bounds 30 degrees. All platforms can be created using our system of parts- a metal grate platform supported by I beams and square profile columns.

Plan & Section

Further, we also developed each programme in terms of the type of partitioning necessary in accordance to its required privacy condition.


Areas like the consultation rooms and toilets have full height partitions as privacy is required while areas like playground, café etc. are entirely open.

Consultation Room


Exercise Station / Playground

Cafe / Farmers' Market


Based on our consultation with Sam in week 12, we edited our construction drawings and building process accordingly.

Our inner membrane is attached to the walkway platforms via a keder within the structure to create the desired shape, and to reduce tension and span. The same keder and platform system is used to close off the inner and outer membranes. Both membranes are attached to keders on either end of a platform that bounds the entire interior space. This platform is supported by periodic columns between which visitors and invited to enter the structure through.

Interface between platform and membrane

The positive pressure arches and membranes are one system, split into segment i.e. bays which can be zipped together between arches. An air tight Velcro seal is then used to cover the zip to prevent air leak. There is a need for bays as the membranes are otherwise too large and heavy (in the ballpark of 70 tonnes, requiring 30 army boys to erect according to Sam) to erect at once.

Connection between bays

Finally, the positive pressure arches are sealed with a flange, and anchored to the ground by the support system shown below.

Interface between positive pressure arch and ground


Having confirmed the form and structural details, this helps to inform the construction/ transformation process.

First, the walkways which the inner membrane is attached to have to be erected. After which, the bays, including the arch flange and support system that accompanies it is implemented as well. Eventually, after all the bays have been erected and zipped together, the interior platforms can now be erected under the cover of the membrane system.

This stepwise transformation also serves the purpose of attracting and eliciting curiosity from the general public as the structure is being set up.


We envision this check-up structure to be a roving one hence the use of modular, reconfigurable platforms. Based on our calculations, if we were to achieve an 80% check-up rate amongst the general adult population, and assuming that the structure is operational for 10h a day, it would take an entire year to service one town. Since there are 24 towns in Singapore, and check-ups need only be done once every 3 years, 8 routes, each servicing 3 towns in 3 years are required. Each route uses the same interior, exterior membrane and walkway platforms with variable interior platform configurations to accommodate different demographic needs of each town. Routes are planned according to available plot size/ conditions.

Routes plan

Air and the body

Within the interior spaces, and due to the curvature of the inner membrane, perhaps air zones can be created and controlled. Each platform zone is to be equipped with its own scenting and cooling system.

Air and the body

Overall as Singapore is very humid, humidity of air coming into the structure should go through a dehumidifying process first. Spaces like consultation and collection rooms can be scented by essential oils as these have been proven to calm the mind. The analysis lab might require cooler temperatures to cater to the sensitivity of biological matter to heat.

Plan and section climatic air diagram

Construction lally diagram


All of the above culminates in the overall experience we wish to provide when going for health check-ups, to reduce negative connotations and stigma, and to entice people to get checked in a fun and casual atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival.


Tokens which are the typical credit system at a carnival can be implemented in our scheme; these can be cashed out on check-ups, or other items i.e. organic produce grocery vouchers for use at supermarkets etc. This system seeks to incentivise check-up take up rate as well as to attract visitors to our carnival.

Ticket booth render

Exercise equipment and a farmer’s market are two proposed ‘stalls’ in our carnival to tie in with healthy eating and active lifestyle campaigns.

Gym and playground render

Cafe and farmers' market render

Lastly, by making the collection of samples/ height and weight taking stations etc. highly visible, it plays into the excitement and curiosity of visitors to visit said station. This also serves a dual purpose of breaking down stigma and negative connotations of check-ups as there is a sense of transparency in the process, and the notion that many people have been and are going through the check-ups completely at ease, and very quickly.

Checkup render

All in all, we hope to reimagine and make accessible the process of health check-ups and healthy living to the masses by means of the theatrical and fun, and by association to typically fun roving structures like carnivals and pasar malams.


  • To scale down on required platforms, and other equipment/ transportation costs/ efforts, can consider attaching to other mobile attractions i.e. pop-up our check-up structure next to existing funfairs or farmer’s markets
  • Greater design intentionality and control of membrane to invoke carnivalesque atmosphere e.g. printing patterns on the membrane, shape of the membrane to reference typical circus etc. Current design relies heavily on the platforms for the creation of atmosphere.
  • Alternative to using membrane to create carnivalesque atmosphere would be to gamify and curate the experience of meandering through the structure, and how the platforms/ walkway journey is traversed
  • To study in greater depth the stigma along every step of the patient journey, specificity to certain check-ups etc. and to turn those pain points into something friendly using behavioural nudges. Current scheme is a lot more broad based and relies on the other aspects such as tokens and farmer’s market to encourage check-up as another thing to do. Focus should be on inspiring the want for check-up independently
  • Current scheme can just as easily be done with a tensile structure. The need for pneumatic structure in this case needs to be distilled. Perhaps introduction of pulsing air to provide motion can be considered as such a quality is inherent to pneumatics.

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