Option Studio: Building an Urban Forest
Instructor: Christine Yogiaman
The Urban Shrub Expansion explores the possibilities of shrubs as the new main mode of planting to encourage greenery growth instead of trees, bridging the gap between the inside and outside of the site, Alexandra Woodland, as its centre.
Shrubs are overlooked in urban habitat restoration even though they are the main factor in multiplying, diversifying and thickening the greenery growth from grassland into forests. We aim to educate the people on shrubs within our site while also creating a connective habitat network that would branch out and extend from our site as the centre, so as to strengthen the green corridors that are currently mostly isolated and disjointed from each other.
We explore and examine our shrub expansion strategy to include the use of existing plot boundaries of properties outside of our site as a method of connecting the fragmented green areas to each other. We also select combinations of shrub species that would be ideal for specific environments and requirements for each plot boundary type, while also looking at how the shrub types play a different role within the ecosystem for both humans and non-humans.
We make use of existing data, layering it together to provide a more holistic view of Alexandra Woodland. In this case, we explore the site as a method for connecting neighbourhoods and childcare centres to the educational and hands-on experience that our potential building intervention would provide. We also take a look at the existing contours of time that mark the years of human intervention to the site, as we want to avoid working on these areas so as to encourage the expansion of growth of these spaces that would eventually become part of the existing secondary forest habitat currently.
Before we began working on our building intervention, we examined the necessary spaces that should be included within it, while also understanding the interactions that would occur between these spaces in relation to each other and to the existing habitat of the site. This was done both in diagram form and visual form, so as to better comprehend the depth of movement and interaction between the species and the potential shrub planting that would happen within the building intervention.
Here, we begin developing the spaces that would become our building intervention. Utilising the existing and potential access points we found in the Ecological Mapping and also the ideal boundary for our building, we separate our building into 13 parts so as to better manage how each module part would have a specific set of necessary spaces as seen from the Program Diagram. We also explore the potential of changing the existing access points to become a large shrub connector to the other green spaces outside of the site, bridging these spaces together to become an interconnected whole for shrubs to propagate.
Moving on, we make use of minimal surface geometry to explore how our building intervention could become an interconnected flow for shrubs to flourish even within the building. We make use of our initial selected module and integrated our Program Diagram to it, so as to ensure a smooth flow of program connectivity, between the green spaces and the non-green spaces as well.
Floor plans of our final site intervention, where the green spaces mark the potential areas where shrubs can grow and propagate, while grey spaces are the areas where it stops. The building would potentially become an additional part of the site, integrated to allow for both shrubs and people to mingle and for people to develop a better understanding of shrub’s importance to the landscape.
A visual mock up of the building intervention, where the building’s curved surface explores and pushes the boundaries of what is ground, wall and ceiling, where people will be able to move freely and the connections would allow for movement between modules as well.
Building Form Model
Original source from: http://asd.courses.sutd.edu.sg/option-studio-one/2021/12/20/sheryl-yeap-yap-yi-tong/