HDB’s Projects Voted Among Singapore’s Top 50 Engineering Feats
Three distinctive HDB projects have been recognised among the top 50 engineering feats in Singapore. These award-winning projects, which have made a keen difference in the lives of HDB residents and the public, are Singapore’s longest man-made waterway, My Waterway@Punggol; HDB’s architectural skyscraper housing development the Pinnacle@Duxton; and the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP), which has brought direct lift access to residents, island wide.
2 The award, Engineering Feats @ IES-SG50, was presented to HDB by Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, who officiated at the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) Golden Jubilee Gala Dinner on 1 July 2016. The national competition was launched by IES to seek out and recognise the top 50 engineering achievements across the various fields of engineering deemed to have made the greatest economic, infrastructural or societal impact.
3 Dr Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer of HDB, said, “HDB started out in pre-independent Singapore, with the critical role of housing a young nation. Through the decades, we have continued to strengthen our engineering capabilities, and some of our distinctive projects, such as My Waterway@Punggol and the Pinnacle@Duxton, have gone on to win international awards. We are both honoured and humbled that our projects have been recognised among Singapore’s top 50 engineering achievements, and will continue to pursue fresh ideas so that our developments will touch people’s lives.”
4 Standing tall as Singapore’s first 50-storey public housing project, the Pinnacle@Duxton comprises seven residential blocks linked together by 12 continuous skybridges to create possibly the longest sky gardens in public housing history. Spanning about 400m in length (with an 800m jogging track at the sky gardens on the 26 storey), the sky gardens offer panoramic views of Singapore’s renown skyline. At over 350 tonnes, the heaviest sky bridge is close to the weight of a Boeing 747 aircraft, and was an engineering feat to assemble high above ground.
5 Home to more than 1,200 households, the towering residential blocks were constructed using high strength concrete, with prefabrication accounting for 85 percent of the construction. A unique block façade was created with the clever use of design features such as planter boxes, bay windows and balconies, to generate visual interest and offer more choices to residents in the type of external features they would like to have. The Pinnacle@Duxton, located where the first two HDB rental blocks were built in the area in 1963, represents Singapore’s progress in public housing and home ownership over the last 50 years.
Construction in progress: Lifting of the skybridges to the 50th storey using the strand jack system
After completion: Singapore’s first 50-storey public housing project, with seven residential blocks linked together by unique skybridges
6 My Waterway@Punggol is Singapore’s first man-made waterway that was designed as part of the landscape feature in HDB estates. At 4.2km long, it meanders through part of Punggol Town, connecting to Punggol and Serangoon Reservoirs to form part of the reservoir scheme. It features a landscaped promenade, five footbridges, viewing decks, cycling and jogging paths, exercise and water-play areas, lush greenery and eco-friendly features that has become a top recreational green space for the community.
7 The waterway was born out of an idea to build a simple pipeline, connecting two reservoirs for water transfer that eventually developed into “the Venice of Singapore”. While a pipeline was practical, a landscaped waterway resembling that of a natural river through Punggol Town was much more exciting.
8 Environmental best practices were adopted right from the construction phase of the intricate waterway. For example, a “cut-and-fill” method of excavation was used to fill the low lying areas around the waterway. Earth excavated from the waterway was recycled to fill surrounding low lying areas for future developments. Features such as the boardwalks, footbridges and areas around the plaza at the waterway were all constructed with recycled materials. Other green solutions include planting wetland plants and freshwater-tolerant mangroves, along the waterway to help stabilise the surrounding slopes, enhance the water quality and promote biodiversity. Eco-drains were also constructed along both banks of the waterway to help cleanse surface run-offs before they are channelled into the waterway.
9 Since its opening in 2011, My Waterway@Punggol has made a splash and become a popular recreational space, with parks and communal spaces along the waterfront. The waterway and its amenities foster community cohesiveness by promoting active participation in recreational activities, thereby injecting vibrancy into the town.
Aerial view of My Waterway@Punggol under construction
After completion: Water-based recreational activities at My Waterway@Punggol
10 In view of Singapore’s rapidly aging population and to make moving up and down the block more comfortable for residents and visitors, HDB embarked on the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) in 2001. The 15-year, $5 billion programme has benefited over 500,000 households in more than 5,000 blocks. Creative and cost-effective innovations were implemented to overcome the constraints of existing block configurations, and minimise the disturbance to residents. These included the use of machine-room-less lifts, pre-fabricated steel shafts and installing link bridges between new lifts and the flats. Besides enhancing residents’ physical and social well-being, LUP has also helped to preserve existing community bonds as residents now have more opportunities to interact with and know one another better, through direct and speedy access to each other’s homes and communal areas around the estate.