Singapore and Paris-based practice, WY-TO Group’s entry “Good Food, Good Life” seeks to advocate circularity and sustainability through the concept of virtuous food cycle.
The winning proposal for the C40 Reinventing Cities Global Competition repurposes former Bukit Timah Fire Station in Singapore into an energy-efficient and low carbon cultural and community node.
Built in 1956, the 0.8-hectare former fire station was a residential complex for firefighters —including a main firefighting station. Decommissioned in 2005, the structure was first adapted for re-use for food and beverage industry and obtained conservation status in 2019.
The intervention by WY-TO re-introduces Nature as a key element to establish the link with nearby reserves and parks. The site’s strategic location acts as a central node for anyone crossing the island-wide Nature and adventure routes — 24km-long Rail Corridor (aka 'Green Corridor'), and the 36km-long coast-to-coast Central Trail.
WY-TO’s Singapore Director and Founder of Provolk Architects, Ar. Jonathan Poh said, "Visitors will learn about the circularity of food – produce from the ground will be prepared and served, while food waste can return to the ground as fertiliser."
WY-TO’s philosophy of "Design with a Cause" is carried forward with what architects describe as a 4-step community node strategy, titled ‘Communi-Trail’, centred on food sustainability.
‘Communi-Trail’ is a four-step process — Initiate, Transform, Share, Recover — which seeks to influence conscious lifestyle behaviours through educating visitors on responsible resource usage.
The community node will host allotment gardens where public can experience urban farming and understand the foods’ life cycle in the process. The complex will also offer several food options, catering to all budgets and educational and wellness programmes encouraging sustainability, circularity and Nature-based activities.
The community node will promote, “Good Food, Good Life”, re-evaluating modern capitalist goals and roots and assist on Singapore’s 2030 Green Plan for a self-reliant and resilient tomorrow.
"We want visitors to learn about food production and food waste management and hope that they will learn to consume in a way that makes them and the Earth happy." Said Yann Follain, WY-TO Group Managing Director.
The former fire station will be refurbished to accommodate various community activity classes which include art therapy, yoga and open workshop in the communal space.
The exo-skeleton developed for the refurbishment includes façade and greenery to lower thermal comfort inside the building. The structures are enhanced to improve natural ventilation internally, responding to the hot-humid climate of Singapore.
Timber is chosen as the primary construction material for the structural additions needed for refurbishment. This material choice is essential in lowering the carbon footprint of the project and improves the biophilic element of the project when combined with extensive surface and vertical greenery.
The masterplan encourages slow mobility, prioritising pedestrian movement and bicycle usage, to reduce carbon emission on site — in line with C40's global design priorities addressing environmental concerns.
The winning entry is a combined effort between Homestead Group Asia, WY-TO Group, including BSD (Environmental Engineers), Studio Lapis (Conservation Specialists), Edible Garden City (Urban Farmers), and Shophouse & Co (Placemakers).
The project is scheduled to be completed tentatively by the 2nd-3rd quarter of 2022.
Type: C40 Reinventing Cities Competition – WINNER
Programme: Adaptive Reuse, Masterplanning
Location: Bukit Timah Fire Station, Singapore
Client: Homestead Holland Pte ltd, TE Capital Partners
Area: 8,308 sqm
Partner: Provolk architects (Part of the WY-TO Group)
Environmental Engineer: Building System Diagnostics (BSD)
Structural Engineer: Spectrum Structural Engineers
M&E Engineer: IEM Engineering Consultants
Quantity Surveyor: BKG Consultants
Landscape Architects: Land Design ONE
Conservation Specialist: Studio Lapis
Place-makers: Shophouse & Co
Foodscape: Edible Garden City
Image: Monevi Design
Guided by our philosophy, "Design with A Cause", WY-TO Group goes beyond to create valued experiences through urban landscapes, visual communication, exhibition spaces, cultural curation and heritage conservation. The fundamental basis to consciously design for The People and The Planet has propelled our full-service endeavours and inspired our Partners all over Europe and Asia.
We design, innovate and pioneer solutions with the vision to influence behaviour and build an inclusive atmosphere for a resilient future. It is with this purpose that our Team is committed to advocating for transformative techniques that reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. Dedicated to our cause, we frequently participate in opportunities on social initiatives and nurture the next generation of empathic designers. The combined desire for a sustainable world has informed our methodologies and collaborative spirit.
Our tailor-fit formulas both meet needs and respect the natural context to promote green energy. Committed to enriching lives in our interventions, our sights are set to collaborate on the mitigation of societal global challenges in urbanism and the Built Environment. We believe that only by grounding inventive approaches together with humanity and responsible use of resources can solutions be made relevant in existing habitats.