Right Side Up

Text by Charlene Chan and Chen Yi An
Photography by Iwan Baan

At a panel discussion that took place in January 2018, a member of the audience asks German architect Ole Scheeren what he thinks of the controversy surrounding the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing. Scheeren feigns offense; his projects, from museums to a floating auditorium, have rarely made their rounds without provoking a healthy amount of debate. He doesn’t mind, though—it’s far better than the “consensus of ugliness” that is established when creators are afraid to push boundaries.

It is this same desire to go beyond the conventional that led to the creation of The Interlace. The curious piece of architecture appears to be several buildings that have been turned over, rearranged like Jenga pieces in the middle of Depot Road. Or stacked wafers, if you’re being particular about the visible contours of residential units on each building block.

Tasked to fit 1,040 apartments on a 170,000m2 site, Scheeren was asked to design a cluster of 12 individual towers that would serve a basic residential function. He notes that typical metropolitan infrastructures, in Singapore and other major cities, are solitary skyscrapers, interspersed with manicured (and procured) greenery. They essentially stand as singular—albeit magnificent—objects, without much thought as to how they could be part of the community they’re situated in: “If you take the green away, you would very quickly sense that there is bit of a problem because there is, in a way, very little sense of space.”

Read excerpts from District Dialogue Document here