Site to be transformed by winner of global ideas competition
The former Bukit Timah Fire Station is set to be transformed into a community node for nature, heritage and adventure lovers. The site will feature an environmentally sustainable lifestyle hub that integrates urban farming, wellness, and nature-based activities, with generous community spaces amidst lush greenery and rich heritage. Visitors will have opportunities to connect with nature via workshops, nature-based programmes and allotment gardens in shared open spaces designed to capitalise on the surrounding greenery.
The transformation of the historical former fire station will also establish the site as a key gateway for heritage and nature landmarks in the area, including the former Ford Factory, Bukit Batok Memorial, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Bukit Batok Nature Park, as well as island-wide recreational routes in the area - the 24km-long Rail Corridor and the 36km-long Coast-to-Coast Central Trail.
Winning team to implement proposal
The tender for the State property will be awarded to Homestead Holland Pte Ltd as the winner of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group’s ‘Reinventing Cities’ competition, organised in collaboration with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore Land Authority (SLA), National Parks Board (NParks) and Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
‘Reinventing Cities’ is a global competition meant to serve as a model for cities around the world to implement carbon neutral and sustainable urban features within identified sites in cities across the world. The competition featured 25 sites in nine cities including Cape Town, Chicago, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, Montreal, Singapore, Reykjavik and Rome. The former Bukit Timah Fire Station was the first site in Asia to be included in the competition when it was launched in December 2019.
A healthier, greener and vibrant destination
As part of the competition, bidding teams had to consider how to repurpose the State property to promote healthy living, community interaction and integration with nature while featuring environmentally-sustainable urban solutions. The competition was carried out over two phases, with the first phase comprising the submission of an Expression of Interest. Three teams were shortlisted for participation in the second phase of the competition, for the Price & Quality evaluation of their final proposals.
The winning proposal, centred around the theme of ‘Good Food, Good Life’, features well-curated community event spaces and allotment gardens to experiment with sustainable food production and food waste management. It will also bring together a vibrant mix of uses such as food and beverage offerings including farm-to-table experiences, health and wellness activities, and nature-related workshops. The proposal includes a number of community spaces with suggestions on good use of outdoor spaces, with trails and murals to showcase the heritage of the former Bukit Timah Fire Station and its surrounding area. Environmentally sustainable features such as enhanced waste management strategy, sustainable construction and low carbon mobility initiatives (e.g. through provision of shuttle buses and EV charging stations) will be implemented throughout the tenancy. The development is targeting to attain Green Mark Platinum Zero Energy certification under Green Mark 2021, the latest iteration of BCA’s Green Mark framework.
An aerial view of the former Bukit Timah Fire Station community node with a mix of lifestyle, food, educational and entertainment offerings, as well as generous public spaces © Homestead Holland Pte Ltd
Members of the public will be able to take up allotment garden plots and be part of the larger farming community comprising a seed farm, learning garden, demonstration garden and a farm-to-table restaurant © Homestead Holland Pte Ltd
The former staff quarters will be fitted with lightweight timber and steel exoskeletal structures that not only function as vertical green walls to improve thermal comfort but also serve as external walkways that overlook a central food street © Homestead Holland Pte Ltd
Homestead Holland Pte Ltd is helmed by Homestead Group Asia (HGA), TE Capital Partners, locally-based French architectural designers WY-TO, and local firm Provolk Architects who have worked closely with collaborators including conservationist Studio Lapis, urban farmers Edible Garden City and placemaker Shophouse & Co in developing the proposal. It will be awarded a tenancy of 3+3+3 years for the interim adaptive use of the site, with their tenancy to commence in the fourth quarter of 2021. Restoration works for the site is expected to commence around the end of 2021, with the community node tentatively scheduled to open to the public around the second quarter of 2022.
Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development said, “We have been progressively enhancing the Rail Corridor over the past few years to create a continuous green corridor for nature, recreation and community use. The former Bukit Timah Fire Station will be added as a recreational node along the Rail Corridor to serve as a base for visitors to explore the surrounding nature areas and heritage attractions. We will be implementing sustainable solutions with creative adaptive reuse of the site, in line with our Singapore Green Plan 2030 ambitions to push for greener buildings and to build a more climate resilient nation. For instance, at the former staff quarters, there will be structures that function as green walls to improve thermal comfort and reduce heat gain, and serve as external walkways to connect the various blocks as well. Separately, the former Station Master’s residence will be re-purposed by NParks into a Visitor Centre to showcase Singapore’s nature parks. They will also explore plans to connect the former Bukit Timah Fire Station to the Rail Corridor trail and other green spaces such as Bukit Batok Nature Park. Visitors can look forward to the former Bukit Timah Fire Station being transformed into a thriving community node, and this will provide another convenient access point into the Rail Corridor.”
 Reinventing Cities is a global competition organised by the C40 to implement carbon neutral and sustainable urban features within underutilised sites in cities across the world. Member cities can identify potential sites for international bidder teams (comprising developers, architects, environmentalists and other professionals) to collaborate on and make a submission to implement innovative carbon neutral and sustainable urban features for the list of sites in the competition. Visit www.c40reinventingcities.org for more information.
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