Award-Winning Inclusive Designs Enable Users of all Needs and Abilities to Enjoy a Common Experience in the Built Environment

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Architects and project teams lead the way for people-centric designs in residential, healthcare and community buildings to foster a more inclusive society for persons with disabilities, seniors and families.

Picture this. Residents, young and old, enjoying seamless access to community facilities that are specially located around a common biophilic green space.  They are linked by stepless paths that are conducive for wheelchair users and families with prams. Such thoughtful designs have helped Waterfront I & II @Northshore, the first seafront new-generation HDB neighbourhood in Punggol, clinch the Universal Design Excellence Award by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

  • The other three winning projects are Royalgreen (a private residential development), Fernvale Community Club, Hawker Centre and Market, as well as Kallang Polyclinic and Long-term Care facility. More details on this year’s BCA UDEA winners can be found in Annex A.
  • Potential winners are shortlisted based on the new Universal Design index self-assessment framework that BCA introduced this year. This year’s winners have obtained the highest possible Universal Design index rating, and demonstrated holistic adoption of UD principles to create a more accessible and inclusive environment for various user groups, including persons with disabilities, the elderly, families with young children, and expectant or nursing mothers.
  • BCA’s Group Director for Building Plan and Management, Er. Clement Tseng said, “As we emerge from the pandemic, more people are spending time with families and friends in the built spaces around us. The winners this year have placed the needs of people and the community at the center of their design, creating inclusive homes and neighbourhoods where seniors can age-in-place safely and families can enjoy quality time with their young children. We are glad to celebrate the achievements of these exemplary developers and architects who have incorporated thoughtful designs so that users, regardless of their needs and abilities, can enjoy a common experience.”

            “Since 2006, HDB has incorporated Universal Design (UD) features into all new public housing projects, creating a user-friendly environment for residents of all ages and abilities. These UD features enable residents to move around freely, safely, and connect with family and friends, or to go about their daily activities with ease and convenience, thus improving their quality of life. Waterfront I & II @ Northshore is an example of how we have incorporated UD, to create a more comfortable and inclusive living environment for all. It is an honour for the project to be conferred the inaugural BCA Universal Design Excellence Award. HDB will continue to strive to deliver quality homes that are inclusive and contribute to the well-being of our residents.” said Ar. Wan Khin Wai, Director (Landscape and Design) at Housing & Development Board (HDB).

            Royalgreen’s developer, Allgreen Properties Limited and their architect, ADDP Architects LLP had set out to design the ideal home for families within this intimate low rise residential development. Units were designed with flexibility for space usage and future adaptation, such as dual-access ensuite bathrooms and flexible spaces that can be reconfigured to grow with the needs of the family. Recreational facilities cater to children of different age groups, with an indoor playroom for toddlers and sheltered outdoor playground with seats of different heights, as well as swimming pools with different depths. The pools are also equipped with steps and rails to cater to senior residents. Considerations have also been made for wheelchair users, such as wheelchair-friendly equipment in the gym and an accessible preparation countertop at the BBQ pavilion. The condominium management office is also fitted with a wheelchair-friendly service counter.

            Having designed 15 residential developments which have been certified under the previous Universal Design Mark scheme, Ar. Tang Kok Thye from ADDP Architects LLP shared, “As key shapers of the built environment, we are keenly aware that our designs can affect users profoundly. Good design should ultimately enhance the experience of users in the buildings. Adopting Universal Design principles that are practical and sensible in our design would offer convenience and support to the needs of a varied group of users and enhance the inclusiveness of communities.”

            Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs & Ministry of National Development, Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim commended the efforts of the project teams: “This year’s winners have shown that Universal Design features can be innovative and seamlessly integrated into our built spaces. The project teams were committed from the onset of the design process to bring convenience to a wide range of users.” He added that: “BCA is planning to gradually improve publicly available information on user-friendly provisions in developments. Users with need for such UD features will be able to identify whether a newly built development provides them. The information will be available on BCA’s website by 1Q 2023.”

Advancing the Adoption of Universal Design in the Built Environment

            Besides the award, BCA also has a slew of initiatives to encourage the sector to advance the adoption of Universal Design in their development projects. One of the initiatives is the Universal Design index self-assessment framework that comprises a checklist of user-friendly features for developers and architects to better understand the level of user-friendliness of their buildings for four key user groups - persons with disabilities, the elderly, families with young children, and expectant or nursing mothers. Other initiatives include a refreshed certification course for Universal Design assessors and the extension and enhancement of the Accessibility Fund. More details can be found in Annex B.

Download PDF version of the Media Release here
Download Annexes here 

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