Planning restrictions can create enormous challenges for architects, but they can also spark some of the most innovative design responses.
Sandcrawler, designed by Andrew Bromberg of Aedas, is a new office building in Singapore that addresses a raft of masterplanning restrictions. It also responds to a number of special requirements for client Lucas Real Estate Singapore, and tenants from the film, animation and production industries.
"Due to the nature of the sensitive work being performed inside, the design needed to provide a high level of privacy," the architect says. "At the same time, however, it was important to have an attractive outlook."
The building also needed to provide a strong civic quality for Lucasfilm Singapore's regional headquarters, be sustainably designed, and offer spaces that would encourage social interaction.
Bromberg's solution is an elevated, horseshoe-shaped building, with a sleek, polished curved facade that wraps around a landscaped courtyard.
"A standard office plan would not have met the required mass-to-building line percentages," he says. "The horseshoe form was a logical outcome of the masterplanning restrictions, which dictated the roof height and slope, as well as the maximum elevation of each face."
The building was lifted up to 13m off the ground to afford privacy and security for the client and tenants. The elevation makes the building appear to float above the ground. It also creates a generous, sheltered public space at ground level, adding a strong civic dimension not normally associated with corporate offices.
"The horseshoe configuration improves the quality of the spaces within as well," says Bromberg. "It offers a narrower floorplate with a double light aperture so there is plenty of natural light flooding the interior."