Creating Strategic Urban Guidelines to Deliver Urban Quality and Vitality for a new Knowledge District

Studio Woodroffe Papa was commissioned with Lawrence Barth to develop urban design guidelines for a refinement of the Nepal Hill and ICT Media districts in Jurong Town Corporation’s (JTC) master plan for one-north, Singapore.

One-north breaks from the traditional science park and recognises the urban character and vitality of contemporary innovation ecologies. Eschewing the usual suburban pattern of the peripheral research campus, the original Zaha-Hadid plan emphasised a compact, street-based morphology. However, the design guidelines contained little awareness of educational and research building typologies, and consequently no understanding of how the plan could promote the formation of a social fabric structured around the streets, gardens, courtyards, and plazas of vibrant urban campuses.

Our task was to clarify the essential spatial ambitions of ZHA’s plan and demonstrate how a realistic understanding of today’s building typologies could achieve these. Equally importantly, our work developed guidelines which preserved important urban qualities while remaining flexible: more than a blueprint, it was a manual for evolution and transformation.

Our work covered a broad range of topics covering parcel organisation, massing, quantum, land use, spatial structure and strategy, urban patterns, as well as selected issues related to media districts, housing courtyards, medial typologies, implementation and phasing. In order for JCT to implement the one-north plan under changing conditions, the emphasis needed to shift from a formal language to the strategies of implementation.

For potential investors to become stake holders, the plan needed to instil confidence in the broader vision of a continuous and synergistic urban area: the whole would have to be greater than the sum of the parts, but achievable through simple propositions for each parcel. The business case for each of the parcels were researched by a multi-disciplinary team, and the resulting guidelines established a clear vocabulary and set of spatial rules to deliver urban benefit along with commercial success. At the heart of this work stood an extensive understanding of the role, character, and disposition of voids in successful urban fabrics.

Nepal Hill + ICT Media Hub
SGP, Singapore
Jurong Town Corporation JCT
850,000 m2 ICT Media Hub\
Site area: 30 ha\
Workscope: Masterplan and Urban Guidelines\
Status: Delivered\
Team: Studio Woodroffe Papa\ Lawrence Barth

Creating Strategic Urban Guidelines to Deliver Urban Quality and Vitality for a new Knowledge District