Punggol Digital District

Nature and density merge in upcoming smart business district

Punggol Digital District

Nature and density merge in upcoming smart business district

Punggol Digital District (PDD) is a large business park being developed in the northeast part of Singapore in which architecture, nature and technology are all integrated assets of the masterplan.

The precinct will house key growth industries like cyber security and digital technology and is set to create 28,000 jobs. Designed by local architects and planners WOHA, it is a testbed for many of the forward-thinking ideas the firm is now synonymous with.

Three-dimensional planning

PPD breaks free of two-dimensional planning. In lieu of a top-down view of land use wherein zones and roads are sharply demarcated, it opts for a three-dimensional approach: programmes and services are stacked and connected both vertically and horizontally to facilitate symbiotic exchanges.

A cross-section view of Campus Boulevard reveals the three-dimensional planning behind Punggol Digital District.
© JTC / WOHA

The design incorporates several data for movement: ground, below ground, podium and roof. The result is a unique built form that meshes buildings into vast urban networks with social spaces nestled between blocks.

Campus Boulevard is a covered space between buildings set to be an important social passageway.
© JTC / WOHA

Fast mobility systems, such as trains and cars, are situated below ground, along with services infrastructure.

Some of the structures have been lifted off the ground, freeing the terrain for walking and cycling. Visitors can also move between buildings at the podium level to access sky terrace gardens.

Building bridge connectors allow podium-level movement.
© JTC / WOHA

The roof is reserved for energy and food production.

Eateries and urban farms will share the roof’s expanse under solar canopies.
© JTC / WOHA
Walking and cycling amidst nature

Lush greenery permeates every corner of the district. PDD’s urban farms, tree-lined thoroughfares and promenades all feature new and conserved vegetation.

The 50-hectare site’s masterplan actively supports the biodiversity of the area. The wide selection of plants and distribution of water bodies bolster foraging. This attention to landscape details illustrates how dense developments can co-exist with and sustain natural habitats.

Nature is a key asset in this dense urban district.
© JTC / WOHA

In order to encourage more people to walk and cycle on the grounds, the old Punggol Road has been earmarked as a major corridor, turning the 1.3 km stretch into a car-free heritage trail.

The Punggol Heritage Trail is envisioned as a car-free, tree-lined corridor.
© JTC / WOHA

The whole park is designed to be car-lite to limit emissions from private vehicles. It also promotes the use of public transportation for longer commutes.

Integrating smart technologies

PDD promises to be a smart business precinct. For instance, the Open Digital Platform (ODP) integrates data from its multiple systems, collected in real-time and used to create a digital twin.

Nexus is a sheltered community plaza for retail, bazaars and performances.
© JTC / WOHA

Connected to the ODP, a smart energy grid enables users to monitor consumption and adopt greener lifestyles. It is estimated that the district will fare 30% better in energy use, simply by relying on cooling across the site.

PDD also promises to be circular. Measures are in place to recycle food and horticulture into fertilisers. Rainwater collected in eco-ponds is to be channelled for irrigation use.

The flows and exchanges throughout the site take place in a centralised logistics hub, fitted with Internet-of-Things sensors.

Spaces between blocks are designed to be biophilic.
© JTC / WOHA
A future-ready community

PDD’s initial design phase was awarded the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Platinum. It will open in stages from 2024 onwards.

Once operational, the district should help Singapore realise its ambition to be a smart nation at the service of people and ecology. It will also further its efforts towards its City in Nature vision.

Check out Ecogradia’s two podcast episodes with WOHA — season 1, episode 1 and season 2, episode 10 — in which co-founding directors Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell discuss their design thinking.

A frontline project is holistic, net-positive and integrative. It protects or regenerates social, ecological and economic systems, aiming for a ‘greater-than-sum’ outcome.

Gallery

Images

Fact Sheet

Disclaimer: Location provided as reference only. Exact site may differ.

Tropical climates have warm, moist conditions year-round, with high precipitation and narrow diurnal temperature swings. These climates occur typically between 15° N to 15° S latitude. Here, traditional architecture prioritises natural ventilation and shade for comfort.

Estimated savings
30% (attributed to the District Cooling System)

CO₂ savings
3,700 tons per year

Client
JTC Corporation

Architect
WOHA Architects

Mechanical & electrical engineer
Beca Consultants

Principal builder
Woh Hup

District cooling system design
ENGIE South East Asia

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