One complicating factor is that natural ventilation is not viable in Singapore when the palm forests in nearby Malaysia are burned for the planting of palm oil. Our solution for those occasions was to close louvered windows and use a simple mechanical system, in tandem with ceiling fans, to cool the air by a few degrees, until the smoke has cleared and the louvers can be reopened.
Woodlands Integrated Healthcare Campus (WIHC) will provide a continuum of care that encompasses clinics, a 1,400-bed acute care hospital, 600 sub-acute care hospital, and clustered 400 beds long-term care facilities. Two objectives that shaped our approach were to minimize noise from two highways that intersect at one corner of the site, and create a social hub for a neighbourhood that lacked a significant communal space. We massed the buildings and dug them into the sloping site to provide acoustic insulation for the campus, and at the same time, taking inspiration from the traditional architecture of South Asia’s kampong villages, we elevated the buildings on stilts. At grade, our concept for the WIHC campus is a pedestrian-oriented village commons – a place for food stalls, family recreation, and socializing, sheltered by the buildings from Singapore’s frequent rains. Vehicular access occurs one level below grade. Raising the buildings on stilts also significantly improves cross ventilation on a healthcare campus where 80 per cent of the patient beds will occupy what is usually naturally ventilated space.
North/south and east/west circulation spines efficiently connect all buildings on the campus, while creating a public route through WIHC that is entirely separate from all healthcare-related circulation flows. Water features such as channels and pools assist with way finding, and combine with lush landscaping to lend an ‘oasis’ character to the campus. Each of three low-rise long-term care facilities has a central courtyard and is organized into 18-person ‘houses’ in which each resident has a private room and bathroom, along with shared living room and quiet zone space.