TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects
Char Yong Association
Char Yong Association, Singapore
The Char Yong Association (CYA) in Singapore, established in 1858, is dedicated to the well-being of Hakka immigrants and the promotion of Hakka culture. The association has been operating from its 8-storey Char Yong Building since 2002, playing a significant role in supporting students’ education and organising charitable events for the elderly and needy.
CYA decided to relocate to Lorong 18 Geylang and envisioned a new modern building that would serve the association’s activities while generating commercial returns. Their goal was to qualify for the Rooftop Greenery scheme and meet Green Mark standards. The project aimed to incorporate landscaped greenery inspired by traditional Hakka landscapes.
bioSEA worked with TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects to propose tiered landforms and stream and water weirs, which were significant in traditional Hakka terraces and water management. A cascading vertical rain garden was introduced, allowing water to flow down the levels and be collected for landscape maintenance. Green walls and themed planting in the Sky Garden were intended to create interconnected habitats for urban biodiversity. The Sky wetland, designed as a core biodiversity space, incorporated Feng Shui principles and included agricultural species significant to Hakka culture.
To balance the needs of both people and biodiversity, a community garden was proposed. This garden would feature edible plants, herbs, spices, and fragrant ornamentals, attracting important pollinators like birds and butterflies, and providing a shared recreational space.
The overall ecological strategy aimed to harmonise the cultural aspects of the development with the requirements of biodiversity, creating a balanced establishment that celebrates Hakka culture while supporting urban wildlife.