Post B: “The Interlace”: A New Way of Living

With the immense growth of the economic and infrastructure, Singapore rapidly became a densely populated country, undergoing through a problematic factor of overcrowding and lack of residential space. In the 1960s, Singapore was regarded as a third world country, however with the success of integrating social and political aspects with other countries, it established a strong force leading towards globalisation. As Jean Abshire agrees “Globalisation has been one of the strongest forces shaping Singapore throughout its history.” (Abshire 2011). The government began to improve housing, so almost everyone lived in high-rise buildings and apartments. This was a way to ethnically bond cultures together to empower the society to become one huge community. With their fast growing population nearly 5.3 million people, the country is made up with differentiated cultures, whom segregated into ethnic neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India. According to the authorities, this number will increase up to 30%, meaning around 6.9 million people will live in 2030 (Buncombe 2013). Singapore land shortage depicts on the challenge to come up with solutions to use the new land effectively to meet the people’s aspirations of allowing space to live as well as a focus to bring connectivity within the country.

The housing department in Singapore requires a number of attributes in order to meet the basic needs to continue a diverse range of affordable and quality homes. Therefore innovation and technology is bought upon with architecture as it should be carefully thought out especially with the challenge of using a small amount of space and to consider the building regulations. The pamphlet from the Ministry of National Development, Singapore entails to “ensure liability through creative layout and design, sensitive planing and smart innovations.” (Ministry of National Development 2013).

In 2015, German architect Ole Scheeren won the World Building of the Year 2015 for his project The Interlace, encompassing a vertical village in a large residential complex with a series of 31 apartment blocks, arranged in a hexagonal way in an eight hectare space. Running his own business with OMA’s Beijing office, he was able to set up his own studio naming Buro Ole Scheeren with his partner Eric Chang. The concept behind the creation was “a way of creating high-density housing without adding another tower block to Singapore’s skyline” (Hobson 2015). Six storey high apartments are stacked in either twos, threes and fours in horizontal bars in contrasting angles to create the formation of hexagonal courtyards, a series of landscaped gardens and terraces at different levels. There are 8 distinctive courtyards that are regarded as the main areas to break up the space at ground level in order for the residents or visitors to navigate themselves in an easy manner. As Eric Chang explains “And the orienting device for the residents is not the blocks that they live in, but actually the character of the courtyards. So they navigate and locate where they’re living by the different courtyards.” (Hobson 2015). Large multi storey voids are located in between the blocks to allow the light and ventilation to come through across the site.

Overlooking Around the Complex (Hobson 2015)
Site Plan of The Interlace (Moore 2015)

Scheeren strongly believes The Interlace brings in the sense of community in a vivd and lively complex with increased space for privacy. There are communal spaces to gather people together such as green areas around the courtyards, plazas, swimming pools, barbecue areas and many more to create an essence of being able to interact among with the residents in different scenarios, as it gives a chance to achieve social connectivity in a positive environment.

“There’s never a moment of isolation but always a sense of connectedness. There’s an incredible diversity of environments for inhabitants to find a place where they want to be.” says Scheeren (Miles 2015)

Among the Courtyard with the Gardens (Deezen 2015)


Abshire, J. 2011, The History of Singapore, Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data, California.

Buncombe, A. 2013, Hot, Small And Crowded, Singapore is Having an Identity Crisis, Independent, United Kingdom, viewed 18th January 2017, <>.

Frearson, A. 2015, Ole Scheeren’s “Vertical Village” names World Building of the Year 2015, Dezeen, United States, viewed 18th January 2017, <>.

Hobson, B. 2015, The Interlace By Ole Scheeren was designed to build a sense of community, Dezeen, United States, viewed 18th January 2017, <>.

Miles, P. 2015, The Vertical Village: the evolution of high-rise buildings, Financial Times, United States, viewed 19th January 2017, <>.

Ministry of National Development 2013, A High Quality Living Environment For All Singaporeans: Land Use Plan to Support Singapore’s Future Population, pamphlet, MND, Singapore, viewed 19th January 2017, <>.

Multimedia Referencing:  

Dezeen 2015, The Interlace by Ole Scheeren: World Building of the Year 2015, Interview, YouTube, viewed 18th January 2017, <>.

Hobson, B. 2015, The Interlace By Ole Scheeren was designed to build a sense of community, Dezeen, United States, viewed 18th January 2017, <>.

Moore, R. 2015, The Interlace In Singapore by OMA/Ole Scheeren, Architectural Review, viewed 20th January 2017, <>.


One thought on “Post B: “The Interlace”: A New Way of Living

  1. kristinagwidjaya says:

    I love how you put up “The Interlace” as a new way of living and I think the idea behind the design itself is brilliant. This is one of the example how Singapore deals with the issue of its rapid population growth, which mentioned by most of our team members on our Post B. I think it’s interesting that the architecture of “The Interlace” beside being the solution to the problem, it is also aesthetically eccentric, a good example of contemporary design that meets at the intersection of functionalism and aesthetic.


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