The Fourth Place — 2020

Sited at Singapore’s Tuas Port, the proposed HQ building is within a highly mechanized and robotic environment. The architecture intent is to create a “Fourth Space”, a public space where the intangible digital environment and physical environment intertwined. It is an open space where technologies such as holography, virtual reality, augmented reality and others overlay the physical space to bridge between the two realities. While much of the current literature regarding smart cities considers how technology might make the processes, workflows and designs more efficient, the conceptualization of the “Fourth Place” is to tap on the advanced technologies in our public space design to foster human interactions.

The architecture is elevated above ground to form a natural segregation of programs, create a communal space on its groundscape and providing a security buffer for any threat generated from the street level. The intention is to humanize the groundscape for the community and visitors while turning the inner processes inside out to exhibit the Port’s state-of-the-art technologies and automation. Various communal and social spaces are also located across the building, catering for different character of activities with different degree of security control. This allows the flexibility of planning for engagement with the public and the community, while at the same time, maintaining the safeguard of this critical infrastructure.

To design for maximum adaptability, long column free spans with shallow beam depths was proposed. Structural columns and bracings are pushed to the perimeter for column free space within the floor plates. This also encourages speedier construction and the ability to best facilitate the installation of building services and partition walls.