Excerpts from William Lim Associates Community clubs 1986-1999
When WLA was appointed in 94, Community Club (CC) consisted of earlier building by HDB with an extension by private architect built in the 80s. Our brief was to upgrade and add to the existing. Government policy was to maximise plot ratio of CCs lead to rexamination of original brief - to share land with other complimentary users.
To keep building low - HDB estate to the rear should not be adversely affected. The final configuration: 3 storeys with mezzanine floor and single storey basement.Soil conditions - thin layer reclaimed land (3 to 4m), 30 to 40m of marine clay before hard soil. High water table (close to sea) - careful consideration had to be made to determine the final design of basement, structural system (flat slab), piling (steel H pipes) and waterpoofing of basement etc.
From the ground up...
Starting off with a crude symmetry - a central circulation area between the CC and the library - the two main users broadly mirroring each other in terms of planning - unidentical Siamese twins - this initial symmetry was tested against the different user briefs and allow us to morph - to be moulded accordingly to use, reconciled to the asymmetry of the site.On the fround plane the common circulation area begins as a cavernous double and triple height today - shared entrance to the four users - open and extending out to the surrounding hardscape and funnelling the public into its interior before branching off into the different user groups.
Setting shaped volumes (representing different functional spaces) and mezzanine floor slabs within the double-height space above the ground plane.Linking this theme of volumes to the rest of buildings through staircases, and voids which penetrate the floor slabs to create pockets of double-height space.
From the ground up the differences and relationships between the two main users of the building - CC & Library - are reflected in the treatment of the building envelope.It had to be explicit that the single building has two primary users - thus the CC and Library each have their own front facade but are tied together by similar facade treatment to the sides and rear.