TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects
Char Yong Association
Char Yong Association Building
The Char Yong (Dabu) Association (CYA) in Singapore was founded in 1858 to look after the welfare of Hakka immigrants as well as promote and celebrate Hakka culture. Having operated out of their 8-storey Char Yong Building since 2002 at Lorong 22 Geylang, the Association played, and continues to play, an important role in supporting deserving students in their educational pursuits and organizing charitable events to support the aged and needy.
Relocating to Lorong 18 Geylang, the CYA envisioned a new, modern building for the association and its various activities, while using the remaining floor area as a commercial vehicle to generate returns. Driven by the Association’s mission to propagate the Hakka spirit, the space provisioning, planning and outlook was intended to emulate Hakka culture and establish synergy between the commercial and institutional values of CYA.
The client aimed to qualify for the Rooftop Greenery (LUSH) scheme and meet Green Mark standards. The project warranted strategic planning and positioning of landscaped greenery that could thematically pay homage to traditional Hakka landscapes.
Cover Image: Stepped green and blue system inspired by weirs. Visual by bioSEA and TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects.
We first explored agricultural Hakka landscapes and identified ‘Tiered landforms’ to echo the traditional Hakka terraces and ‘Stream and water weirs’ that were once used as dams across rivers to raise the level of water upstream to regulate the flow of water.
We proposed incorporating these features in the tiered design by TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects through introducing a cascading vertical rain garden with water tumbling down the levels being collected and recirculated for landscape maintenance. Paired with walls of greenery and themed planting palates in the Sky Garden, we aimed to create ecologically connected habitats that could play home to the diverse urban biodiversity found in the site vicinity. The Sky wetland while being a core biodiversity space also incorporated Fengshui principles with agricultural species significant to the Hakka culture being suggested for planting.
To further balance the needs of people with those of biodiversity, we proposed the inclusion of a community garden which could sport edibles, herbs & spices, fragrant ornamentals – all of which could entice important pollinators such as birds and butterflies into the garden creating a beautiful shared recreational space.
Overall, the ecological strategy focused on marrying the cultural facets of the development with the needs of biodiversity to create a balanced establishment.
Detailing habitat creation along the stepped blue & green system. Visual by bioSEA and TR Hamzah & Yeang Architects.