The Singapore New Jurong Church is a contemporary high-rise church in a dense city surrounded by high-rise apartments. The building is designed with a square as a basic geometry, with its four sides signifying the World of Man. An ambulatory ramp spirals around the base, signifying the processional way that ascends towards the main worship hall and the roof garden, connecting all the main spaces of the church. This lushly planted route serves to bring in unity the church community and opens out to a gardens and views to the surroundings. These verdant spaces serve as places of contemplation and appreciation of the greenery and water.
The form of the church is expressed as offset volumes that are recessed or brought forward to create balconies, sky gardens, and ambulatory spaces. The continuous ramp, which spirals upwards in the building, displaces the volumes of the different floors, allowing for in-between green spaces mediating the hot interior environment of the tropics. The dynamic displacement of the building volumes also enables good natural lighting to illuminate the interior spaces. The roof garden may be used as an outdoor chapel or for wedding ceremonies. It further serves the community by acting as a green respite, when looking out from the surrounding high-rise buildings. The interlacing nature of internal spaces and external green spaces – through the composition of the ascending ramp weaving around and through the interior spaces – embodies the unique experience of a church in the tropics.
With the need to mitigate the harsh climate conditions of the tropics and yet not have a high dependence on mechanical cooling systems, state-of-the-art building technologies are employed in the building’s conception and design to make full use of passive systems. The building facades incorporate the use of screens to deflect heat, optimize interior daylighting, as well as to attenuate acoustics. The facades are parametrically adjusted to degrees of opacity and translucency depending on the orientation of the facades and the daylighting needs of the program behind them. The reflectivity of the material replaces the potential harshness of solid facades with a myriad of reflects optical perspectives, creating a subtle patterning. The building’s roof scape is conceived as a green space to help minimize direct heat gain by using the shading foliage of plants. The design research for the project employs state-of-the-art daylighting and energy use simulations to analyze and inform form and material choices.
The Singapore New Jurong Church has been published in books and journals including in World Architecture 262 and A View of Harvard GSD Vol. 3. The project has further been featured in lectures and exhibitions, including in theIBSA 2012 Speaker Series, hosted by MIT, and theUIA 24th World Congress of Architecture in Tokyo, Japan.