URA announces Rail Corridor RFP awards and exhibition [Press Release]

November 10, 2015 by  
Filed under News

9 Nov 2015 – The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced today the Rail Corridor Request for Proposal (RFP) awards, and launched an exhibition of the awarded proposals where the public can give feedback. URA also announced the proposed conservation of the two steel truss bridges along the Rail Corridor, and acknowledged the community’s contributions in achieving a key milestone for the Rail Corridor project.

Developing proposals for an inspiring and extraordinary Rail Corridor

URA launched the ‘Rail Corridor – An Inspired and Extraordinary Community Space’ RFP on 18 March 2015, inviting design professionals to develop a Concept Master Plan and Concept Proposals for the Rail Corridor. In May 2015, based on the strength of their Statement of Design Intent for the Rail Corridor and quality of their team composition, organisation and track record, five teams were shortlisted for Stage 2 of the RFP.

Stage 2A required the five teams to each develop an overall Concept Master Plan and Concept Proposals for the Rail Corridor. This includes the Concept Designs for two special interest areas – an urban-green-blue tapestry at Choa Chu Kang, and the adaptive reuse of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. See Annex A [PDF, 148kb] for the scope of the Concept Master Plan and Concept Proposals.

The five teams’ proposals were assessed by a 12-member Evaluation Panel on the quality and strength of their design principles and concept designs towards achieving the Planning and Design Goals for the Rail Corridor. Besides assessing the robustness and feasibility of their design methodologies and proposals, the Evaluation Panel also paid particular attention to the effectiveness and creativity of the proposals in integrating the 24 km Rail Corridor with its diverse surroundings to benefit the surrounding communities and offer differentiated experiences to Singaporeans.

At the same time, the Evaluation Panel focused on how the proposals strengthened the Rail Corridor’s unique identity as a seamless and connected ‘green corridor’ and how they celebrated Singapore’s railway heritage while transforming the Rail Corridor into an inclusive community space for shared experiences. The successful teams were selected following a rigorous evaluation process which included interviews and presentations.

Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of URA and Chairperson of the Evaluation Panel, said, “The RFP is an important exercise for us to explore new ideas to integrate developments with open spaces and greenery. While we are committed to keeping a continuous green link throughout the Rail Corridor, there are land parcels along the Corridor that will eventually be developed. This RFP have given us a rich range of ideas to better integrate the continuous ‘green corridor’ with future developments on adjacent land parcels. We thank the participating teams for their tremendous effort and contributions.”

Awarded Concept Master Plan

The Concept Master Plan is awarded to the design team comprising Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei Ltd and local landscape firm Tierra Design. The team’s proposal, themed Lines of Life, features a strong vision and robust Concept Master Plan for the Rail Corridor supported by well-thought-out design strategies to create extraordinary community-centric spaces and experiences throughout the length of the Corridor.

Lines of Life adopted a very well-structured and methodical design approach, with its concept designs thoroughly addressing all aspects of the RFP brief and relating strongly to the Planning and Design Goals. The concept proposals were creative and sensitive to the site context. They were able to strengthen the Rail Corridor’s identity, connectivity, landscape and heritage, while providing a more inclusive and vibrant public space that offers a great variety of quality experiences and activities for different segments of the population. For example, the concept proposals include enhancing the natural vegetation along most stretches of the Rail Corridor to create places of respite and enrich the ‘green corridor’ experience. At the same time, activity nodes are proposed all along the Rail Corridor where nearby residents and workers as well as visitors can enjoy various activities ranging from nature-based recreation, arts and cultural events, to community activities. See Annex B [PDF, 83kb] for more details on Lines of Life.

Lines of Life features eight distinctively-themed stretches along the 24 km-long Rail Corridor and 10 community nodes offering differentiated experiences (Photo credit: Nikken Sekkei)

Evaluation panel member, Prof Wulf Daseking of the University of Freiburg, commended the awarded Concept Master Plan for its far-sightedness. “It presents visionary ideas for the former train line to be planned and integrated seamlessly with its diverse surroundings, over many years. The plan is a wise guide with brilliant ideas that is also flexible in terms of implementation. Green areas, footpaths and bicycle paths as well as surrounding developments along the Rail Corridor are woven together in a very convincing way,” said Prof Daseking

Awarded Concept Designs for an urban-green-blue tapestry at Choa Chu Kang

The Concept Designs for an urban-green-blue tapestry at Choa Chu Kang is awarded to the team from MKPL Architects Pte Ltd and Turenscape International Ltd. The proposal successfully capitalised on the unique site context and presented innovative concept designs to create an attractive and ecologically-richer environment along the Rail Corridor that can be merged with future housing. A highlight of the plan involves transforming a stretch of the Rail Corridor into a linear forest that can be integrated with future housing using a range of sensitive architectural and landscape design strategies. The plan demonstrated how careful planning and design can contribute to a great living environment where nature, development and a green, porous and vibrant public realm coexist. The proposal will also serve as a useful design concept should housing be developed on the site or similar sites in future. See Annex C [PDF, 76kb] for more details of the awarded proposal.

The awarded Concept Designs for an urban-green-blue tapestry at Choa Chu Kang presents innovative concept designs for an attractive and ecologically-richer living environment along the Rail Corridor (Photo credit: MKPL/Turenscape Team)

Another evaluation panel member, Mr Raymond Woo, Principal Architect with Raymond Woo and Associates Architect, said, “The awarded proposal for Choa Chu Kang features a very strong and sensitive concept where the housing blocks are positioned to engage with the varying heights of ‘forest greens’ that follow the ascent of the building heights. It is a daring scheme that allows residents at all blocks and levels to enjoy the linear forest, with sky bridges for those on the higher floors and communal farming decks for the lower floors. The integration of Pang Sua Canal as part of the public realm also complements the mid to high rise ‘forest neighbourhoods’ to create an extremely pleasant environment.”

Awarded Concept Designs for the adaptive reuse of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

The Concept Designs for the interim adaptive reuse of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is also awarded to the MKPL Architects Pte Ltd and Turenscape International Ltd team. The proposal effectively positioned the station’s use as a highly-accessible and vibrant multi-functional community building in the next 20 years by introducing creative and appropriate community uses vis-à-vis sensitive design interventions. At the same time, the proposal is effective in reinforcing the station’s identity as the most prominent landmark and gateway into the Rail Corridor.

The awarded Concept Designs for the adaptive reuse of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station features a green community space – The Station Green, in front of the building where larger events can also be held (Photo credit: MKPL/Turenscape Team)

With a future Circle Line MRT station to be built under the former railway station site, the proposal presented concept designs that gave a modern interpretation to the historic railway station, while at the same time retaining the sense of place and heritage of the railway station.

The proposal also features an additional entrance/exit for the future Circle Line Cantonment MRT station, that gives the former railway station’s platform space a new lease of life, contributing to the former railway station’s use as a multi-functional community building in the next 20 years (Photo credit: MKPL/Turenscape Team)

Agencies are in discussion with members of the heritage community regarding the possible options to address the impact of the Circle Line MRT station’s construction on the former railway station’s platforms. The RFP required the design teams to propose suitable design solutions for the affected platforms in the event they may need to be recreated in the future. The design solution of the awarded team is one of a few options under discussion, among which include the full reinstatement of the existing platforms. See Annex D [PDF, 22kb] for more details of the awarded proposal.

Cementing heritage and connectivity along the Rail Corridor

URA also announced that the two steel truss bridges along the Rail Corridor have been proposed for conservation. The two bridges span across Bukit Timah/Dunearn Road, near the conserved Bukit Timah Railway Station; and Upper Bukit Timah Road, near the Rail Mall, respectively. They are endearing local landmarks and identity markers that capture Singapore’s railway history and heritage, and provide seamless connectivity for Rail Corridor users today.

With their conservation, the two bridges will continue to feature as prominent landmarks that connect the Rail Corridor’s history, present and future. As part of the Concept Master Plan, the teams were required to propose strategies to re-establish and enhance connectivity along the Rail Corridor, as well as retain and celebrate the Corridor’s rich heritage and identity. This includes considering design solutions for the two bridges to facilitate safer crossings for different users and recapture the Rail Corridor’s sense of place and memory.

Members of the public can provide their comments to the proposal to conserve the bridges, for one month. The bridges will thereafter be gazetted as conserved structures. Refer to Annex E [PDF, 64kb] for more information on the two steel truss bridges.

The steel truss bridges are endearing local landmarks that provide seamless connectivity along the Rail Corridor

Celebrating the community’s contributions in shaping the Rail Corridor

With the RFP awards and proposed conservation of the steel truss bridges, an important milestone has been reached for the Rail Corridor project. Key to this achievement is the community’s contributions over the past few years, where their input and feedback have guided the plans for the Rail Corridor.

“Developing constructive dialogue with the community is an integral part of the planning and conservation process. We are pleased to have worked with the Rail Corridor Partnership and the wider community to arrive at this milestone for the Rail Corridor project, and are excited to continue this conversation to create delightful spaces for Singaporeans. The Rail Corridor is a long stretch that will take us many years to develop, and we are certainly not rushing to develop it. We look forward to continuing this collaboration with the community to shape the future of the Rail Corridor”, said Mr Ng Lang.

Continuing the journey together

The exhibition showcases all the awarded proposals. It will be held at the URA Centre Atrium from 9 to 28 November 2015. The master plan and design concepts have incorporated many ideas that surfaced through the consultation process. These are not the finalised proposals, but are to be refined upon further feedback from stakeholders and the general public. Local communities can also look forward to a roving exhibition near their neighbourhoods in the first quarter of 2016. Throughout this period, the public is invited to give their feedback on the awarded proposals at the exhibition and online at http://ura.sg/railrfp.

Stage 2B and 2C of the RFP exercise will be held from the second quarter of 2016. The awarded teams will work with URA to refine the Concept Master Plan and Concept Proposals, taking into account the feedback received.

The team for the awarded Concept Master Plan will also carry out a preliminary design and feasibility study for a selected four kilometre-long signature stretch of the Rail Corridor.

More information on the RFP exercise and exhibition is available at http://ura.sg/railrfp. The public can also find out more about the Rail Corridor at http://ura.sg/railcorridor.

Source and images credit: URA

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