The Oliv is a 12-storey medium rise residential development located along Balmoral Road, an upper-middle income residential area in central Singapore. The Oliv is made up of 23 units (20 maisonettes and 3 pent house units) that feature prominent sky terraces which act as the core element of the building facade as well as communal facilities including a swimming pool, gym and lounge, plus basement parking.

Designed by Brooklyn based W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, the Oliv with its unique facade, is both an exemplary piece of contemporary tropical housing and an excellent architectural response to a new regulatory planning code being implemented by the the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in the country. Dubbed the “sky terrace guideline”, it requires the introduction of a sky terrace as a communal space, (which is exempted from Gross Floor Area [GFA] calculation) which must be accessible to all residents and at least double volume in height.

This guideline amongst other is part of Singapore’s push to promote vertical greening and the provision of communal space in residential development.

The Oliv is an unconventional beauty, showcasing creative use of these sky terraces to give the building a unique aesthetic while overcoming the technical regulations and practical requirements of exclusivity and privacy. The projected and tapering form of the sky terraces provide privacy to respective units (thanks largely to the lush landscaping on the terraces) as well as shade and shelter for the double volume interior.

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Extensive vertical greening are thoughtfully integrated to give a softer appearance and function as a thermal insulator, providing passive cooling to the building. Spatially, the backdrop of lush greenery also greets one dramatically in relation to the vast open space, connecting one with nature. In materiality, the sky terraces feature characteristic styling of textured off-form concrete, timber strips and perforated aluminium screens further evoking a sense of rich tectonics. Overall, the jury commends the architect’s control of the project that exudes boldness in expressions, yet finesse in detailing, to create a unique interaction for the residents with nature.


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ATTRIBUTIONS

Drawings and Images courtesy – the competitiononline (where you can get more details on the design and development)

These 2 articles on architecture sg and design exchange also offer alot insight into the design of the Oliv as well as an interview with the architects. To learn more about the landscaping of the project, especially the sky terraces, you can refer to this article from world landscape architect.

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