Sky Ville at Dawson
Sky Ville @ Dawson

Dawson estate in Queenstown – formed by the merger of Princess and Duchess estates – has had a long history. It was first developed in the 1950s by the Singapore Improvement Trust, and now, some 60 years later, is the site of a new generation of public housing – the Sky Terrace @ Dawson and Sky Ville @ Dawson HDB developments, designed by award-winning local architectural firms SCDA Architects and WOHA Architects, respectively. The 758-unit Sky Terrace is made up of five towers of 40 to 43 storeys that sit atop a parking podium, while Sky Ville is a 960-unit development comprising three 46-storey towers.

Sky Terrace at Dawson
Sky Terrace @ Dawson

Located along the junction of Margaret Drive and Dawson Road, both developments are Build-To-Order projects completed under the Housing Board’s (HDB’s) “Remaking Our Heartland” initiative. Over the years, HDB has been collaborating with the private sector to design and construct more distinctive towns and estates, such as The Pinnacle @ Duxton and Waterway Terraces projects at Punggol.

According to a HDB spokesman, the new developments were aimed at “building a cohesive and vibrant community; fostering a shared identity; encouraging multigenerational and family-friendly living; and developing a greener living environment”. Rhetoric aside, we look at the reasons why you would want to live there.

Green Environment

Sky Terrace at Dawson
Green plants trail down landscaped link bridges between the blocks at Sky Terrace.

With a “Housing-in-the-Park” concept, there are extensive and expansive green spaces across both developments. Enter Sky Terrace, and be greeted with a cascading green terrace on the facade of the multistorey carpark. A roof garden at the top level of the carpark leads residents and guests to an open area which links all five blocks, aiding interaction, while creating a green space perfect for an evening walk.

Greenery in Sky Terrace extends from the facade of the multistorey carpark building to the roof garden above it.

Further exploration takes you to a forest of green features as green walls planted with creepers and hanging plants clad the facade of the blocks. These are complemented by six landscaped sky terraces which serve as links between blocks.

Sky Terrace at Dawson
Interstitial spaces are decorated with plants, creating a calm and pleasant ambience.

Greenery is not lacking in Sky Ville, either. Designed with sky gardens on levels three, 14, 25 and 36, these spaces are naturally lit and ventilated. With plenty of seating areas in the gardens, residents can enjoy a good view of the cityscape and surrounding greenery, while taking an afternoon walk regardless of rain or shine in the fully sheltered gardens.

Landscaped sky terraces in the development offer spaces for interaction and communication within the community.

These green pockets were planned to encourage interaction within the community. The roof garden at the top level also features facilities such as a 400m jogging track. 

Community First

A landscaped park, playground and fitness corner are some facilities in Sky Ville which cater to residents of different age groups.

To provide more spaces for interaction at Sky Ville, there are community living rooms overlooking a landscaped park, as well as a precinct pavilion, playground and fitness corner, at the ground level. There is also an urban plaza located along a public linear park housing a supermarket, coffee shop and retail spaces.

Community living rooms replace the conventional void deck, while serving its purpose of creating space for interaction between residents.

Sky Ville @ Dawson
An urban plaza at Sky Ville has breezy open-air seating spaces.

With the aim of encouraging multigenerational and family-friendly living, Sky Terrace offers four- or five-room loft units paired with a studio apartment where families can live alongside one another. At Sky Ville, buyers can choose from flexible floor plans with column-free and beam-free main spaces. This way, they have the choice of a larger living room or bedroom based on their preference. These flexibilities help cater to changing lifestyle needs, such as when children grow up or as elderly parents age.

Fadly Salleh, who lives in a multigenerational unit in Sky Terrace (see it on page 92), shares what he likes about the estate: “I love the clever integration of plants into the design of the estate; there’s also an amphitheatre, and I’m excited to see what community events will be held there.” 

Link to the Past

Sky Ville at Dawson

Efforts have also been made to ensure that the heritage of Queenstown estate is not lost following its reconstruction and redevelopment. The heritage wall at Sky Ville comprises a series of wall murals that trace Dawson’s history from the 1950s to 2010s. The series of murals show different snapshots of the same location in the estate at various time periods.

Some iconic landmarks include Margaret Drive Hawker Centre and the former Queenstown Centre. Each of these murals narrate a different aspect of Dawson’s history. Similarly, the heritage gallery at Sky Terrace consists of seven panels showcasing memorable buildings and events in the rich history of Queenstown and the Dawson estate, such as HDB’s first flats in the 1960s, Queenstown town centre in the late 1960s – which provided residents with entertainment and shopping facilities – as well as the opening of Singapore’s first branch library in Queenstown in 1970, which still serves as a library today. 

Greener Spaces

Residents can access the carpark and amenities easily via a link bridge connected to the residential blocks.

For their designs of Sky Terrace and Sky Ville, both architectural firms have bagged multiple accolades, such as HDB’s Innovative Design award, the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark Platinum Award and the Landscape Excellence Assessment Framework certification. Here’s why.

Sky Terrace @ Dawson

Completed in early 2015, the design of Sky Terrace @ Dawson by SCDA Architects is based on seamless connectivity to greenery, with blocks located next to the Alexandra Canal Linear Park. On top of incorporating extensive green elements and multigenerational units, the project features sustainable design technologies such as drip irrigation, rainwater harvesting, bio-retention basins and solar energy systems. Sky Terrace @ Dawson was also recently awarded the Skyrise Greenery Award by the National Parks Board.

Sky Ville @ Dawson

WOHA designed Sky Ville @ Dawson around three themes – community, variety and sustainability – and it was completed in the third quarter of 2015. There are community living rooms which overlook a park where enormous historic and mature Angsana trees, raintrees and Yellow Flame trees have been retained; these spaces encourage interaction among residents.

The rooftop park features photovoltaic panels that power common lighting. Other environmentally friendly efforts include designing every apartment unit to be naturally ventilated. Walls are built with vertical and horizontal sunbreakers to provide shading. All windows have overhangs and special mid-height top hung panels that direct breeze to seating height and allow windows to remain open during the monsoon period.      

Both developments use nearly 100 per cent precast-concrete, minimising on-site wastage, as each flat was fabricated as a set of modules before being fitted into place.