Urban Tree House

Terence Chew Wei Liang, Felicia Lim Yu Qing, Singapore 

 

Explanatory Note

Bridge for cars. Nature for people.

We reminisce our playful childhood memories of climbing tree houses and exploring nature. Today, the city is for cars and concrete precedes the natural landscape. The city’s road network dominates the cityscape.

By tapping on the multi-tiered, fun and explorative typology of tree houses, this project aims to reverse the city peoples’ segregation from nature using the space beneath the bridge to create intermediaries between the city and nature.

Urban Tree House
Urban Tree House

Spanning the city like a spine, the volume beneath the bridge has the potential to activate the surrounding greenery. This has been overlooked because of the hectic city life and the void. If there was a convenient way to reduce the gap between city and nature, it would encourage people to step out of the concrete pavement and immerse in the natural landscape.

The bridge has a connecting role within the urban fabric of Yaroslavl and has the potential to bridge the active Northern and the serene Southern activities. However, the current site is unutilized because it is dominated by motor vehicles on the top side.

Suspended and Playful tree houses

Instead of simply being a transiting zone, the concrete roof and pillars provide structural support that opens up new possibilities of travelling other than on the flat ground — walkways can be suspended.

With the idea of suspension, a whole new space can be imagined without constraints. New paths can be created and activities can be crafted to be played out creatively. Suspension gives the space under the bridge more layers, creating vibrancy and energy at the site.

Reconstructing the idea of a modern urban tree house, a modular approach is taken for simplicity in design and construction. With the concrete bridge above as roof, a tree house in this context does not require a roof, which opens up the space into nature.

The triangle modules provide flexibility three-dimensionally. Its ability to connect and fold provide for a unifying language to tie the site together as connector that weaves through the landscape. This modular form can transform to form spaces like pavilions, stadium, amphitheater, etc. and many more iterations.

Zoning and merging of spaces for different users and activities ensures that the connector is welcoming to all ages. Be it the elderly who prefer privacy and quiet spaces or youths who want to play or families who want to bond.

Entrance: amphitheater as attractor, performance space, attention inwards

Zones of serenity: towards the green and water, ‘healing’ garden, Therapeutic for elderly, rejuvenating

Active zone: opportunity to activate the barren land in between bridge and playground

Adventure zone: uneven terrain for climbing, jumping and balancing.
Play zone for children.

The natural landscape in a city has always been so near yet so far. Urban «tree» houses aim to bridge this gap by utilizing the existing structure to create a meaningful public space.

Authors:

Terence Chew Wei Liang, Felicia Lim Yu Qing 

Architecture Students interested in design computation and urban studies. 

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