18 Rail Corridor possibilities unveiled in exhibition

Tan Weizhen Today Online 31 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE - The Rail Corridor as an arts gallery, set among nature. Old train carriages as arts workshops, a backpackers' hotel and even spas, strewn across the corridor. Community farming to bring residents together along the 26km stretch, which runs from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

These ideas were among the 18 winning submissions unveiled yesterday for the future use of the Rail Corridor, in a competition that the Urban Development Authority (URA) launched last November.

More than 200 local and overseas submissions were received.

As Minister of State for National Development Tan Chuan-Jin presented prizes to the winners yesterday, he highlighted the importance of "the spirit of boldness and the element of surprise ... in putting forth quite extraordinary ideas and possibilities".

Mr Tan pointed out that Singapore faces constraints in land planning. He said: "This, of all places, requires the element of thinking out of the box, to be able to recreate things, to recreate ideas, to re-package them, in order to create the living space that we need, while at the same time, accommodate development, accommodate the need to maintain our natural heritage, our historical heritage."

He singled out a project by three architecture undergraduates as having the potential to involve residents in nature and the arts at the same time.

Named the Singapore Green Corridor Festival, the team proposed that the linearity of the green corridor is best suited as the backdrop for an arts festival.

They had researched other countries and cities, such as Japan and Edinburgh, and found that many of their arts events take place in rural or natural landscapes.

Besides the arts, weddings, eco-fashion shows and a railway-station museum were other ideas they suggested.

Five Secondary 4 students from Raffles Girls' School took their challenge one step further, surveying 100 people on what they wanted for the green corridor before coming up with their winning concept.

Their elaborate proposal involves old train carriages to be used as temporary workshops for artists, a backpackers hotel, spas, restaurants and flea markets.

The students also suggested that schools could organise history and biology field trips to the area.

The URA says it will study the ideas and concepts from these entries and distil suitable design principles and parameters that can form part of the brief for the Rail Corridor Master Plan and design competition that is being considered.

The entries are on display in an exhibition at the URA Centre until May 11.

Winning ideas for Rail Corridor
Tan Qiuyi Channel NewsAsia 30 Mar 12;

SINGAPORE: A tiger sanctuary in the Rail Corridor - that's one of 18 winning ideas on the future use of the former KTM railway land.

Another winning entry, titled TransFARMation, proposes turning the space into a series of family farms. It impressed the judges with its ideas on ways to bring communities together.

Entries in the "Journey of Possibilities" competition were assessed on how they responded to challenges like bio-diversity, community and heritage.

Ideas range from a bird sanctuary to a Green Corridor Festival. And, another entry calls for the longest art installation in the world.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) organised the competition last November to draw innovative ideas from the public on the future use of the 26km Rail Corridor which stretches from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

The competition received more than 200 submissions from both local and overseas participants.

The "tiger sanctuary" idea was submitted by Australian design studio, Occulus.

The team's submission, entitled "The Tiger's Garden", proposed that the Rail Corridor be returned to the wild to reconnect modern Singapore with its primeval past.

It suggested an elevated trail to bring people up close with nature.

The jury said the proposal went beyond the concept of the city in a garden to conceive Singapore as a city in a jungle.

"The Tiger's Garden" entry won the first prize in the Open category's "Extraordinary and Innovative Ideas for a Great Public Space" issue.

In the Youth Challenge category, a group of Raffles Girls' School students clinched the top prize.

Another 19 ideas were recognised as "honourable mentions" for their creativity and surprising qualities.

URA says it will study the ideas and concepts from these entries and distil suitable design principles and parameters that can form part of the brief for the Rail Corridor Master Plan and design competition that is being considered at the moment.

The entries are on display at an exhibition at the URA Centre till 11 May.

- CNA/ir

Winning ideas for former KTM railway land
Grace Chua Straits Times 30 Mar 12;

Give the Rail Corridor back to the wild, with a trail wending through it, or bring communities together through farming.

These are among the most ambitious winning ideas in a competition on what to do with the former railway land, the narrow strip which wends through Singapore from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar.

The land was previously used for Keretapi Tanah Melayu train travel, but was returned to Singapore in July 2011.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), which organised the competition, awarded prizes to winners in a ceremony on Friday evening.

The competition, launched in November 2011, drew more than 200 ideas from Singapore and all over the world, of which 18 in six categories were picked as top ideas.

The URA will study these entries to glean ideas for a future Rail Corridor master-plan competition, it said in a press release.

An exhibition of the winning entries and honourable mentions will be held at the URA Centre Atrium, 45 Maxwell Road, from March 30 to May 11.

The centre is open Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am to 7pm, and on Saturdays, 8.30am to 5pm. It is closed on Sundays and public holidays. Admission is free.