If we could turn back the clock and walk into a Roman home, our senses would inevitably be drawn to its atrium.
The open roof of a typical ancient Roman atrium was designed to facilitate a generous flow of natural light and air and, as the central hall, it was also the most lavishly decorated area that represented the family’s power and wealth.
In old Chinese architecture dating back to the Zhou Dynasty, there is a similar concept known as the siheyuan . Translated as “Chinese quadrangles”, the siheyuan is a courtyard surrounded by buildings on its four sides. It acted as a spacious and breezy outdoor living room where family members congregated.
This month,Insidetakes a look at atriums and courtyard spaces in CapitaLand Group properties, and the numerous possibilities these spaces offer to people.
Party Central - Clarke Quay’s Central Fountain Square
Clarke Quay sits at the mouth of the Singapore River, and used to be a bustling centre of commerce in the late 19 th century. The riverfront precinct has been designed to be as open as possible – it pulsates with the lively atmosphere from the restaurants, wine bars, entertainment spots and retail shops.
The heart of Clarke Quay is its atrium, also known as Central Fountain Square. It is located directly under the Angel Sky architectural feature, which comprises canopies over the roofs of the surrounding shophouses. The space enjoys the expansiveness of the outdoors, yet is sheltered from the elements.
A combination of form and functionality, the Central Fountain Square provides a cooling respite for tourists unaccustomed to the city’s sweltering heat, and performs a nightly tango with a dazzling assortment of lights.
The Central Fountain Square is also a charming host to a wide array of events throughout the year. Get your party hats ready and join in Clarke Quay’s annual New Year Countdown party, or gather with live musicians from around the region for Music Matters. Toast with a cool beer in hand and bask in the spirit of OktoberFest (Munich’s famed festival), or enjoy some spook and good cheer at its Halloween party!
Space and light come together at the Central Fountain Square at Clarke Quay. But it is the celebration of the good life here that makes it the city’s party central.
Green Plaza for the Community - The Star Vista’s Star Plaza
The Star Vista is the first major mall in Buona Vista which enjoys the distinction of being the first naturally-cooled mall in Singapore. Designed to maximise wind flow and supplemented with mechanical ventilation, a visit to The Star Vista feels much like a stroll in a park amidst lush greenery.
Epitomising the green architectural style of The Star Vista is its atrium, Star Plaza, which has a striking 33-metre-high ceiling that facilitates wind flow and natural light.
The Star Plaza constantly morphs itself according to the community’s needs and has been used for sports, dance classes, carnivals and movie screenings. CapitaMalls Asia also collaborated with Budweiser to transform the atrium into a mini soccer court. Curious onlookers queued to take their turns scoring goals. This is part of the CapitaMalls Asia Half-Time draw where a lucky shopper won a trip to Brazil!
Student Bob Lim, 27, raved that the “court being in a mall makes it an interesting pop-up concept I’ve never seen before, and the game is both fun and challenging.”
Other recent events held at the Star Plaza include famed dog trainer Cesar Millan’s filming for the National Geographic Channel, a meet-and-greet session with the celebrities from Discovery Channel’s Pawn Stars , highly energetic Zumba classes, vibrant cosplay shows, and a mobile playground, much to shoppers’ delight.
Evidently, The Star Vista’s Star Plaza is more than just a venue of street-like buzz, it is also a place where families and friends, the young and old come together for fun activities and bond as a community.
Where Sustainability Meets Business and Community -- Six Battery Road’s and Twenty Anson’s Office Atriums
Walk into Six Battery Road and you will be welcomed by its lush indoor vertical garden, impressive in both scale and aesthetic appeal. Spanning a surface area of 2,000 square feet and home to more than 100 species of plants, the atrium’s green wall is one of the largest of its kind in any Singapore office building when unveiled in March 2011.
The plants keep the air inside the atrium fresh, and a rainwater harvesting system provides irrigation to ensure the vertical garden stays dewy throughout the year.
“In the case of Six Battery Road, the indoor vertical garden acts as a perfect landmark because no one will miss it! Some people may also choose to take a breather in the atrium to recharge during the course of the day, so small touches such as comfortable seats are usually appreciated,” said Mr Raymond Tsang, Vice President, Design Management (Commercial), CapitaLand Singapore.
Another key feature in Six Battery Road’s atrium is the visitor management system. Self-registration kiosks are available for the convenience of frequent visitors. Occupying the other end of the atrium is the Da Paolo café, located at a central area for business lunches or a quick catch-up over coffee. From the café’s terrace, patrons enjoy a breathtaking view of the Singapore River.
Over at Twenty Anson, a 20-storey prime office building in Tanjong Pagar, its communal sky garden on the fourth storey is an iconic feature as well. This eco-feature of the building is a quiet environment ideal for small meetings and conference calls. Thoughtfully landscaped, its green wall and trellises serve as solar and thermal insulation, effectively reducing the load on indoor air-conditioning.
The atrium spaces at Six Battery Road and Twenty Anson’s sky garden have also been used to host staff-bonding events, year-end festive parties, and tenant engagement initiatives, such as the annual CCT Eco Race where participants raced against time to get through station stops to learn about reducing carbon footprint.
More than a world-class introduction to the business and technology worlds, the atriums at Six Battery Road and Twenty Anson make a lasting impression of how green buildings can bring out the best of Mother Nature’s beauty.
Paradise on Earth -- The Interlace’s Courtyards and Sky Gardens
Call it heaven on Earth. And there isn’t just one of it here. The Interlace’s eight large-scale courtyards and numerous private and shared sky gardens bring multiple Eden experiences to residents.
The courtyards and sky gardens take on different themes. One of the courtyards has been designated as a community garden and residents decide on what to plant and how to landscape the plot. Usual facilities within the Interlace such as swimming pools, playgrounds, exercise stations and party pavilions harness the kampong spirit.
“The development was designed with the concept of ‘community’ in mind, offering opportunities for the residents to enjoy their own privacy and also allow them to engage in social gatherings and interaction,” shared Ms Ong Sim Lian, Senior Vice President, Design Management (Residential), CapitaLand Singapore.
She added “To help residents in finding their way in this huge eight-hectare development, we have in place features such as a Y-Axis pathway, as well as different landscape features and sculptures to give each space a unique identity.”
For instance, the Theatre Plaza, which provides space for social gatherings and events, could be easily associated with the sculpture “Good fun!” by local sculptor Chong Fah Cheong.
To boost multi-generational interaction, the play areas comprise both playgrounds for kids and exercising equipment for adults and the elderly. A more unique feature that cuts across the courtyards is a jogging track that encourages residents to move around within the residence and make contact with neighbours of different blocks.
But what is heaven for the city dweller without the convenience of everyday amenities made available right at the doorstep? Eight retail shops are set aside in the development, with one recently opened minimart offering a variety of groceries, making contemporary living more blissful and convenient than ever.