Leading the future through connected communities
The new MRT stations in Woodlands, Singapore, by Aedas, strike a balance between function, a sense of delight and timelessness
Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is a fully automated driverless Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line that stretches from the Marina Bay CBD area to the city’s northern border and along the east coastline to Changi Airport. Spanning 43 km in length, it is the longest MRT line in Singapore and will serve up to 1 million commuters daily upon its full operation in 2025. The entire transit line was divided into four work packages. Aedas was awarded two out of the four packages, approximating to half the line scope. Aedas has completed the first package of the TEL, comprising three underground stations: Woodlands North Station, Woodlands Station and Woodlands South Station. The development of the 140,000 sq m TEL Mandai Rail and Bus Depot has also been completed and will aid in the operation of the TEL.
“Within each station, the design team focused on the clear and legible arrangement of architecture spaces to create a seamless journey for passengers. Spatial order, use of daylight, common materials and key components are all implemented to create a coherent station line-wide architectural design language, striking a balance between function and a sense of delight and timelessness,” states Alen Nikolovski, executive principal and project director of the stations.
The Woodlands Station entrance integrates skylight and natural ventilation into its structure. The transparency and illumination enable the entrance at night to function as lanterns within the urban landscape. The platform level of Woodlands Station is provided with banks of escalators and stairs connecting passengers to the station’s concourse through a large and dramatic internal void that enables internal visual transparency. The mechanical and electrical service routes are strategically integrated along the sides beneath the concourse and along the ends of the station to allow uninterrupted station maintenance. Ceiling mounted integrated service units provide the necessary illumination, acoustic and mechanical functional provisions for the station.
The Woodlands Station Interchange Linkway space successfully integrates roof skylights and extensive glazing on the side walls to benefit from natural daylight and connect passengers with their immediate surroundings during the particular time of time. Sunlight floods throughout the space in a controlled manner to reinforce passenger wayfinding between stations. Within the design, the Linkway hall utilises natural cross-ventilation principles supplemented by mechanical ventilation to dramatically reduce energy consumption during the lifecycle of the station while continuing to provide passengers comfort. The design of the station provides direct and seamless links while also facilitating public interconnection with future adjoining commercial developments. The station has been designed to be entirely independent of any future developments with regards to the station’s egress and functional requirements.
The northern end of the station provides a pedestrian link-way and serves to connect the station to existing bus interchanges. The southern end of the station accommodates entrances that lead to civic centres and residential space. The majority of public space is free and unobstructed to create a spacious and uncluttered platform. The station offers simple and direct circulation patterns that connect the underground with platforms and trains.
Inspired by vistas of tropical Pará rubber trees, the design incorporates soft tonal hues of brown and grey with streaks of muted green to accent the grilles and vertical façade. Defined by its natural colourway, the entrance of the Woodlands Station grants passengers a sense of familiarity.
“One of the most important aspects for a complex infrastructure project such as a metro system is related to the vision of the client. The aspiration for the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) for the three stations was to reflect the importance of a strong sense of civic pride combined with celebrating the unique context for each of the communities. The combined skills of the architectural and engineering team focused in developing the appropriate designs to embrace and express this shared vision,” adds Nikolovski.
Aedas is currently working on the second work package that consists of six more stations on TEL’s south section.