This Alterations & Additions project by DP Architects transforms a low-rise colonial development into a recreational and hospitality destination along the Changi Coast shoreline. Olha Romaniuk writes.
A project that combines meticulous conservation and contemporary adaptation, all the while remaining sensitive to the surrounding context, CSC@Changi by DP Architects preserves the old-school allure of the Changi Village area and updates the existing cluster of colonial buildings to meet new recreational and hospitality needs. The new CSC@Changi involves an extension of the existing Changi Clubhouse along the Changi Coast and a revitalisation of the site to create an appealing destination that comfortably blends the new and the old.
“The last improvement works were done nearly two decades ago,” elaborates Ng San Son, Associate Director of DP Architects, on the need for the expansion of the existing facilities, “There had been high demand for chalet rooms and tennis courts and the clubhouse and facilities had not been kept up to date to meet members’ expectations.”
As part of the solution, the design team at DP Architects developed three zones within the Changi site to cater to different user needs, with areas dedicated to sports, F&B and hospitality and with different functions distributed logically according to the context of the site. The DP team situated the public sports complex near the Changi Village for easier access and placed the chalet block away from the bustle of more public zones and closer to secluded and tranquil areas.
Throughout, DP Architects utilised a restrained approach that preserved the history of the site, while adding simple and understated contemporary design elements that connected new structures to the conserved colonial blocks. “We took precedence from the old existing concrete linkway. A new reinforced concrete linkway was designed to connect the existing colonial blocks to the flanking recreation complex, chalet and villas seamlessly. This light datum provided a continuous flow of activities from sleeping [and] eating to playing in the resort,” describes Ng.
The team maintained the sensitivity to scale by using slender columns and trellises to achieve an overall sense of transparency throughout the site and to break up the scale of the new buildings. “As briefed by the client, the additional recreation and chalet blocks that flank the conserved single-storey colonial blocks had to be of a minimal height,” continues Ng, “This posed a visual challenge in terms of proportion and scale. In response, recessed verandas, slender columns and [an] orchestration of bricks were used to break down the otherwise monolithic elevations.”
As another key element of the contextual design approach, the team at DP Architects externalised many staircases and corridors, ensuring visual connections from the street and beach fronts and facilitating a creation of naturally ventilated and shaded passageways throughout the development. “With cost-effectiveness and low maintenance in mind, we predominantly used colour-dyed reinforced concrete and low-gloss powder-coated aluminium rectangular sections, replicating them in varying intensities, angles and geometries to execute delicate sunshade screens and façade,” says Ng.
The design team also took a sensitive approach to the existing colonial clubhouse, highlighting the structure’s unassuming appeal with the use of refurbished timber and natural lighting. “During the refurbishment to the existing colonial single-storey clubhouse, we discovered small clusters of glass roof tiles at the reception zone that were hidden by the false ceiling,” recalls Ng, “An alteration to the ceiling design was implemented to exploit the glass roof tiles and create vaulted skylights that create a geometric ceiling illuminated by daylight.”
The landscape approach for the site follows hand-in-hand with the contextual design of the buildings, with the design team creating a resort-like ambiance while blending existing and new landscape elements together. As newly developed green areas seamlessly incorporate mature vegetation, the site conveys sensitivity in its integration of the new and the old.
With the final design of the development eschewing the conventions of typical resort architecture, CSC@Changi is an Alterations & Additions project that does not shy away from its site’s history and is comfortable in its own skin. Paying homage to its charming neighbourhood and the history that preceded it, the resort blends, not fades, into its surroundings and makes a statement that new construction and building preservation are not mutually exclusive.