Landscape architects feature prominently in Singapore shortlist

Five teams shortlisted for second stage of Singapore Rail Corridor
Five teams shortlisted for second stage of Singapore Rail Corridor

Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has announced the five landscape architect and architect teams shortlisted to participate in the second stage of its Rail Corridor Request for Proposal (RFP). It also announced further details of the requirements in Stage 2, including a feasibility study and preliminary design for a four kilometre-long ‘signature stretch’ to be undertaken by the successful team of the concept masterplan.

The shortlisted teams are: West 8 and DP Architects; Grant Associates with MVRDV and local Architects 61; Turenscape International and MKPL Architects; Nikken Sekkei and Tierra Design; and Olin Partnership with OMA Asia and DP Architects.

The URA launched the ‘Rail Corridor – An Inspired and Extraordinary Community Space’ RFP in March  inviting design professionals to develop a concept masterplan and concept proposals for Singapore’s Rail Corridor.

The 64 teams that responded with their submissions in the Stage 1 pre-qualification exercise, which closed in April, comprise local and international landscape architectural and architectural firms, including tie-ups between local and international firms.

The submissions were assessed by an evaluation panel on the basis of ‘whether they had a clear and compelling narrative and a rigorous design approach towards achieving the planning and design goals for the rail corridor’, as well as whether they demonstrated ‘a good and realistic understanding of the constraints and opportunities’  represented by the project.

As a significant part of the scheme will be defined by its landscapes, says the URA, the evaluation panel also paid particular attention to ‘the landscape architectural strength of the design teams in addition to their architectural capabilities.’

‘The five teams chosen demonstrated a clear understanding of the design issues and considerations for the project,’ says Ng Lang, chief executive officer of the URA and chair of the evaluation panel. ‘They showed originality and creativity in their approaches, but yet were sensitive to the local context and relate strongly to the planning and design goals.’

Evaluation panel member Dr Malone-Lee Lai Choo, director for the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities at National University of Singapore, described The Rail Corridor as a special and precious community space of which many Singaporeans have fond memories. ‘We were looking for schemes that are particularly strong in responding to the ecology of the site,’ she adds, ‘schemes that respect its natural qualities, while introducing sensitive design interventions to enhance them.’

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