Tourism and Community Spaces with Inclusive Design win BCA Universal Design Excellence Award

Wednesday, 11 October 2023

-        Inclusive designs in a new attraction and upgraded airport cater to visitors and tourists of all abilities, including persons with disabilities, seniors and families.
-        Inclusive services and commitment from building owners key to creating an inclusive environment for all, including persons with invisible disabilities.
-        Information on user-friendly features and level of user-friendliness in newly built buildings available for public.

Thoughtful and inclusive features, such as spacious pathways that seamlessly connect walk-through aviaries for parents with prams or seniors using wheelchairs, spacious nursing rooms, and air-conditioned rest areas, have won Bird Paradise the BCA Universal Design Excellence Award (UDEA) this year.

2            The other two winners are Changi Airport Terminal 2’s expansion project and the integrated community hub, One Punggol. More details on this year’s BCA UDEA winners can be found in Annex A.

3            For Bird Paradise, adopting Universal Design principles and thinking were important considerations from the start, with its three guiding principles of inclusion, sustainability and integration. “An essential design criterion for Bird Paradise was to ensure that every guest, regardless of abilities and needs, can embark on a seamless journey and enjoy the wonders of nature. By embracing universal design principles, we have incorporated inclusive elements into the guest experience, ensuring accessibility for diverse profiles, from nursing mothers with young children to seniors and their caregivers. Whether strolling through our walk-through aviaries with access to different vantage points or navigating through barrier-free play areas, we want to provide every guest with the opportunity to experience the park in their own way. Thoughtful considerations can go a long way in ensuring that our guests have positive encounters while appreciating close-up connections with our animals.” said Maggie Ang, Vice President of Park Operations, Mandai Wildlife Group.

4            The project team for the expansion of Changi Airport Terminal 2 strived to upgrade the terminal to meet the evolving needs of passengers and visitors. Mr Tan Lye Teck, Changi Airport Group’s Programme Director for the Terminal 2 Expansion Project shared, “We would like every traveller, regardless of their requirements and abilities, to be able to enjoy the iconic Changi Experience and the contemporary design concepts inspired by elements of nature as they pass through our airport. The design of our built amenities and training of frontline staff to serve diverse needs, including invisible disabilities, all contribute to ensuring accessibility and easing the stress of travel. We continue to innovate and enhance accessibility features at Changi Airport, with the goal of delivering a truly inclusive travel experience for all our passengers.”

5            RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd, who were part of the design teams for both Bird Paradise and Changi Airport Terminal 2, shared their commitment in adopting Universal Design thinking during the course of their projects. “We put people, community and environment at the heart of every design endeavour. Through empathic design, we strive to create meaningful spaces where design solves the real needs of humanity, beyond the expected.” said Ms Law Yoke Foong, Head of Business and Executive Director, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers.

6            As the first completed development within the civic and community district in Punggol, One Punggol, developed by the People’s Association and designed by DP Architects, brought together various amenities into a single convenient location. Apart from common facilities like the regional library and hawker centre that were designed with accessibility and inclusivity in mind, seniors can also spend their time in the day care centre while families can utilise the child development clinic. The Punggol Regional Library, with the largest children collection, houses also accessibility accommodations and collection for persons with disabilities, allowing the library to better serve the needs of the community in Punggol and beyond.

7            BCA’s Director for Building Plan and Universal Design, Ar. Tan Jwu Yih commented, “Beyond providing user-friendly features and equitable experiences for users of all abilities through planning, design and construction, the winners this year have also placed an emphasis on good building management and customer service to further enhance the experiences of their users. Incorporating inclusive features into building design not only fosters accessibility but can also give businesses a competitive edge. Many of these features are relatively low-cost and easy to implement, especially when integrated into the design from the onset. We encourage building owners and operators to follow their lead by adopting Universal Design principles to make their premises more accessible and inclusive, to create a memorable experience for all visitors to their buildings.”

Advancing the Adoption of Universal Design in the Built Environment

8            For the past year, BCA has also been building up a database of newly built buildings with user-friendly features and the level of user-friendliness for four user groups - persons with disabilities, the elderly, families with young children and expectant or nursing mothers. This information is contributed by developers and architects as part of the Universal Design index self-assessment framework that comprises a checklist for them to benchmark the level of user-friendliness of their buildings for the four user groups. Members of the public can visit the BCA website (https://go.gov.sg/bcaud-infoportal) to find out if a newly built development provides user-friendly features before visiting the place. Other initiatives to promote the adoption of Universal Design include a refreshed certification course for Universal Design assessors and the enhanced Accessibility Fund. More details can be found in Annex B.

Annex A – Factsheet on winning projects of the BCA Universal Design Excellence Award 2023
Annex B – Factsheet on BCA’s initiatives to advance the Adoption of Universal Design in the Built Environment 

Download the PDF version of the Media Release here
Download the Annexes here

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