Nikken Sekkei to masterplan Singapore's High Line-inspired rail corridor

A design team led by Nikken Sekkei have won an international competition to develop a feasible plan for 24km (15m) of railway track stretching the length of Singapore.

Inspired by New York’s phenomenally successful High Line – a disused railway transformed into a public greenway – Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) invited international architecture studios to propose similarly innovative schemes for the city-state’s longest abandoned rail line.

Japanese architects Nikken Sekkei, working in collaboration with Tierra Design and Arup Singapore, proposed a concept called Lines of Life, featuring green areas, footpaths and bicycle paths linking communities along the route.

The studio have visualised a “seamless, inspiring, accessible, comfortable, memorable, eco-friendly and evolving space stitching the nation together” from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in the south to Woodlands Checkpoint in the north.

Eight distinctively-themed stretches along the line will epitomise a unique character of each location. Visitors will be able to access the line from 122 access points along the route, stopping for a session of yoga, a rest in the garden or to observe the surrounding wildlife.

“We will integrate the communities touched by the rail corridor into the design itself to make a truly meaningful public asset within a broader urban context,” said the studio’s director of integrated public design, Wataru Tanaka.

“To this end we have undertaken a specifically co-ordinated team effort focusing on public design. Our clear vision has been supplemented with the knowledge and skills of our local Singapore-based team members, providing us with an execution plan for an immensely complex design task.”

Nikken Sekkei is now tasked with carrying out a feasibility study for the project, beginning with the initial 4km (2.5 mile) stretch. At the same time, a public exhibition and travelling roadshow will be co-ordinated by URA in Singapore to present and explain the design to residents.

The design competition for the project received huge interest from around the world, with 63 studios registering designs. Organisers whittled the number down to five shortlisted design teams, including West 8 and DP Architects; Grant Associates, MVRDV and Architects 61; and Turenscape International and MKPL Architects.

Singapore is not the only country taking inspiration from the High Line. South Korea has announced plans for a similar ‘Skygarden’ by Dutch architects MVRDV, James Corner Field is working on Miami’s underground Underline and the Goods Line has recently opened in Sydney.

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FEATURE: Features – The High Line

A design team led by Nikken Sekkei have won an international competition to develop a feasible plan for 24km (15m) of railway track stretching the length of Singapore. Inspired by New York’s phenomenally successful High Line – a disused railway transformed into a public greenway – Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) invited international architecture studios to propose similarly innovative schemes for the city-state’s longest abandoned rail line. Japanese architects Nikken
The railway line will be transformed into an open space for walkers, joggers and cyclists / Nikken Sekkei
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