Singapore

Giving Changi Point and Old Changi Hospital a new lease of life

Can the derelict Old Changi Hospital, a site for many a ghost-hunting expedition, find new life?

The authorities hope so, and want ideas on how to repurpose it as well as the history-rich Changi Point, while retaining its charm.

Bearing in mind the area's current zoning for sports and recreation, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) have launched a contest seeking ideas to enhance the area, while retaining its abundant built and natural heritage.

The contest began yesterday and will run till June 9 this year when submissions are closed.

Entries can be submitted in two categories - for tertiary students in design-related disciplines, and an open category.

Participants can tackle one or both challenges. The first challenge requires devising a concept masterplan that guides enhancement of a 42ha area within Changi Point.

The area is bounded by Loyang Avenue and Changi Air Base (West) to the south and Changi Golf Club to the east.

The second sees participants suggesting ideas to repurpose Old Changi Hospital.

For the concept masterplan, participants are to balance retaining the quiet, rustic character of the area while suggesting enhancements that might attract more visitors to Changi Point.

To achieve this, participants are advised to suggest ways of repurposing existing infrastructure in the area, instead of proposing intensive development works.

The contest also prompts participants to include community spaces within the site, and improve accessibility, especially to the coastline that borders the area's north.

As for Old Changi Hospital, participants are invited to submit ideas that give it a new lease of life while retaining its buildings' architectural features.

In a statement yesterday, URA and SLA said suitable ideas and concepts from the contest will be "distilled into the design principles and planning parameters for the site".

Ms Yap Eai-Sy, SLA's director of business planning and development as well as leasing, said the ideas canvassed will help build on the area's unique identity and military heritage, with its location along the 50km-long Greater Rustic Coast that spans parts of Lim Chu Kang and Changi.

Within the contest boundary are 10 commercial blocks, 23 residential blocks with a total of 71 units, and 24 chalet blocks.

Among them are two old barrack buildings - 34 and 35 Hendon Road - which now house European bank BNP Paribas' Asia-Pacific training campus.

The bank's head of human resources for South-east Asia, Ms Theresa Ho, said it chose to sink its roots in the historic buildings to mimic the theme of its Paris campus, situated in a 23ha estate that dates back to the 18th century.

"Changi Point is a very beautiful place. It's away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and our staff can focus on learning and enjoy the blue skies, greenery and sea view," she said.

Those interested in the contest can find out more about it and register at www.ideas.gov.sg/public/Charmingly_Changi

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

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