Pinup at Newcastle University
Pinup at Newcastle University

Ascend – Integrated Sports Hub

This project was developed by Sharlyn Hwang Ya Wen as a student from National University of Singapore, School of Design and Environment and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

ASCEND started off with a masterplan titled ViscoCITY. ViscoCITY was a podium project, inspired by the duality of day and evening activities in the existing village. The podium peeled up from the HDB (public housing) estate in the south, rising in rough islands topped by sharply delineated slabs of office and condominiums. The podium was themed as an arts landscape, in an attempt to revitalise the residential and commercial estates in the vicinity.

Human movement drove the scheme for ASCEND. It catered to all forms of urban-interactive sport: free-running, rock climbing, tree climbing, bouldering and, for the less adventurous, line dancing (taichi) and yoga.

Hence, similar to the masterplan, ASCEND reflects the idea of a shared experience derived from a shared circulation, despite the residen­tial and commercial being two distinct communities with contrasting habits. The sports hub aims to solve the current situation of the lack of proper sports facilities and designated recreational spaces in Holland Village.

A hexagonal motif was employed across planning, circulation and cladding, giving an aesthetic unity to a very open and lively structure. The idea of movement was further represented by the hexagonal ribbon traversing throughout the entire building with massings clipped around it. The hexagonal main staircase wraps and winds around a tree whilst stepping further into the building with each increasing level. This complements the rock climbing programme adjacent by creating the illusion of climbing into the tree.

Following the language of openness and integration with nature, the roofs of the hub mimic inverted umbrellas, collecting rainwater and channelling them back onto site through thick 1m columns resembling pre-existing trees on site.

A vertical hierarchy further accentuates the vertical nature of this entire design, with free-of-charge mass activities held on ground floor to more private and paid programmes like the management office and yoga/ taichi platform on the third and fourth floor respectively.