The possibility, the ‘dream’ of an urban architecture which truly embraces and exploits the spatial repertoire and morphology of natural landscape formations has obsessed avant-garde architects, most particularly the Zaha Hadid practice, for two decades.
Now, for the first time, as One North takes shape in Singapore, the concept of artificial landscape formation is being articulated across an entire urban quarter. The advantages of such an audaciously bold move are many.
In offering an original urban skyline, One North generates a strong sense of identity – generating a new, instantly identifiable panorama visible from afar, experienced from the park that stands at the heart of this new quarter. A rich diversity of squares, walkways, thoroughfares, alleys engender a unique sense of place within the many microenvironments to be created.
One North also achieved unity in difference – exploiting gentle, undulating, dune-like urban mega-forms to generate a sense of spatial coherence all but lost in the modern metropolis. The masterplan delights also in integrating heterogeneity – a softly swaying patter of lines defining streets and paths, a built fabric which permits the mediation and integration of heterogeneous urban grids. All differences are absorbed and harmonized within One North’s unifying curvilinear pattern.
Ultimately also there is here flexibility without chaos – a morphological system which allows for infinite variation within the bounds of a strong formal coherence and lawfulness. In contrast to exacting and vulnerable Platonic forms – squares, circles, strict axes et al – One North’s form is ‘free’ and therefore malleable at any stage of its development. No less lawful and cohesive than its Platonic counterpart, the proposed natural morphology is infinitely more pliant and ultimately far more resilient.