Option Studio: Above, Under and Beyond
Instructor: Khairudin Saharom
Dichotomous Tessellations is a poetic take on a design intervention for modular structures on the Tanjong Rhu Flyover in accordance to the 2051 Tanjong Rhu Flyover Masterplan. This design uses the tesellation of two different shapes to create a naturally dichotomous design of positive and negative shapes.
The tug of war between the two shapes in the tessellation pattern. As they both compete to consume, devour and outshine the other, they unintentionally hint and bring about a focus on their opponent.
The aim of this design intervention is to create a modular system that can be used to revitalise Tanjong Rhu Flyover and the areas around it. At the same time, this intervention seeks to incorporate hints of the rich history of Katong Park to nudge the users of the space to inquire about it and seek out the stories that lie buried beneath the park.
Tanjong Rhu Flyover Masterplan is designed based on the concept of ‘Celebrating Dichotomy’. It is a community-focused masterplan that embraces the multitude of dichotomies within the site. Its aim is to revitalise the site while enhancing its genius-loci. The flyover will be transformed into a space of recreation, retail, learning and contemplation fit for all ages.
The most imageable portion of the site is the great contrast between the two sides of the flyover – a peaceful and quiet neighbourhood park surrounded by urban landscape VS the lush green and vibrant East Coast Park. We then decided to look into the dichotomy that exists on this site concurrently as well as over time.
The tessellation shapes were taken from important existing elements at Katong Park – the heritage tree representing positive events and feelings that happened at the site and the buried military fort representing the negative feelings and sordid past of the site.
Additionally, I was inspired by the sculpture ‘Family’ by Chong Fah Cheong as I drew many parallels with my impression of the Katong Park. Like the sculpture that has straight edges on the exterior and detailed indents inside, on the surface Katong Park seems like a peaceful place but it has rich history buried underneath. Even the old coastline was buried under the perfection of the ECP expressway. Furthermore, the masterplan for Tanjong Rhu Flyover used the concept of ‘Celebrating Dichotomy’. The tessellation pattern was developed when I incorporated the two shaped in a pattern of bonding and unity.
Next, I superimposed the tessellation pattern on the flyover and developed it from the section. As the masterplan stated that there was to be no structures on the flyover along the contemplation sector, it provided an opportunity for the tessellation pattern to cut through the flyover.
To further emphasise the idea of dichotomy, with the tessellation pattern cutting through the flyover, one end of the flyover emphasises the tree ring shape (the positive shape) while the other end of the flyover emphasises the fort shape (the negative shape).
Both sides of the flyover has a hierarchy along the middle of the flyover that is articulated differently.
The left side of the flyover has its modular buildings extruded along the centre while the right side has modules along the sides, providing a walkway along the middle.
The left side has the tessellation pattern is etched onto the ground whereas the right side has the tessellation pattern flipped around, hovering above like a pergola.
The lower level offers a different environment beneath the contemplative section. The contemplative space above is open, bright and peaceful while the lower level is enclosed, darker and naturally noisier with sound bouncing around the concrete environment. This space will also be used for kiosks and contemplation.
The usage of each module is flexible but has to be in line with the sections laid out by the masterplan. The roof of each module is determined by the conceptual curve.