Completion Date: November 2015


Bayshore Park Underpass, Singapore, Singapore
GreenhilLi Pte Ltd

In equatorial Singapore, an extensive linear East Coast Park runs along the eastern coastline from the city to the airport. The park is a sports and recreational attraction, and is also wooded bird sanctuaries in areas. The East Coast Expressway separates the park from the high-rise residential developments along the coast most of its way. Several pedestrian underpasses along the entire extent enables pedestrian/bicycle access between residential areas and park.

The Bayshore Park Underpass is a reconfiguration and renewal of a highly-used existing 1980s stair/underpass facilities, to meet current barrier-free access requirements and more sophisticated society/community expectations. The underpass starts from Bayshore Park condominium and ends in lush greenery, connecting the community to the beach, walks and bike trails in the park surrounds.

The original underpass was utilitarian, consisting only of stair access and dark tunnel. The introduction of new barrier-free ramps at both ends provides the ideal opportunity for re-sculpturing into bold and expressive linear geometric elements. The new ramps over 70m long with full canopy cover give rise to striking forms visually connected on both sides of the expressway. Use of colour, dynamic form and daylight in the architecture creates the sense of movement through space, linking park and sea to people.

Context plays an important part in the design of the roof over the ramp. The park is a place for play and recreation, so the ramp’s canopy enclosure is created as a playful and colourful sculpture within the green setting leading to the beach. Dappled light filtered through the surrounding trees plays on the chrome yellow roof, which geometrically is a series of rotating square frames resolved into triangular planes. This twisting serpentine element follows the length of the curved ramp and creates a complex spatial form experienced both inside and out. The gentle curve is introduced to avoid an existing manhole and drain that cannot be relocated; a constraint which provides another layer of interest to the ramp experience and subtle complexity to the geometry.

The walls of the existing underpass and new ramps are finished in durable black and white tiles arranged in a bold vertical ‘bar-code’ pattern. This creates a sense of movement along and a visual foreshortening to the overall length of the underpass and ramps, emphasising its transit function.

Moving from the built-up populated area on one side of the expressway to the park, a key idea is the subterranean experience before users emerge on the other side and move upwards along the ramp. Natural light and the lush surrounds are gradually revealed and at the point where the surface horizon is reached, a contrast of the underground and above ground architecture is experienced. The black and white tiles below ground contrast with the yellow ‘origami’ roof that floats above the gap in between - which is the light and green. The transition is complete - one has left the city and entered the woods, which is prelude to the beach and sea.

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