Empowering Transfers to Connect Communities

The triple volume space enhances visual linkage at Stevens Interchange Station; image by SAA Architects; Aaron Pocock

By Benito Ngotiaoco Jr and Ooi Phaik Sim

“With rare exceptions, every transit trip begins and ends with a walk.” Jeff Speck, author of Walkable City

Public transportation has an immense impact on urban spaces and the quality of life in cities. Darrin Nordahl, in My Kind of Transit, likened public transportation to a “mobile form of public space” that should be made pleasurable, memorable and enticing on account of its significant benefits to users.

As designers of the built environment, we constantly challenge ourselves to design transit and urban spaces that keep people safe, happy and healthy, while being mindful that 68 per cent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050.

Point-to-point connectivity and mobility options; image by SAA Architects

Direct and open planning within the Stevens Interchange Station gives clarity to the station layout. Completed in 2022, this station is part of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and connects to the Downtown Line (DTL). Echoing the concept of an interior atrium within a retail mall, which anchors the spaces around it, the routes from entrances and interchange connections are designed to converge into a single, multilevel unifying open space that helps people navigate.

High-volume spaces and staggering voids that step back lead to wider openings at higher floors to maximise visual connectivity and promote intuitive wayfinding.

Staggering voids and integrated artwork within Newton Interchange Station; image by SAA Architects; Aaron Pocock

The Land Transport Authority’s 2040 target is for nine in 10 peak-hour commutes to the city to be under 45 minutes and trips to the nearest neighbourhood centre in under 20 minutes. To this end, provision of cycling facilities and infrastructure covering cycling paths, bicycle parking spaces and pedestrian walkways are critical in building a car-lite society.

Principal, SAA Architects
Benito Ngotiaoco Jr is a Principal and one of SAA Architects’ Transit Leads, having worked in the firm for close to 30 years. He contributed to multiple high-profile projects internationally and locally, from Shangri-La and JW Marriott hotels in India to key government infrastructure projects in Singapore and Malaysia. He has been instrumental in many of SAA’s rail and transit projects in Singapore including Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations for the Circle; Downtown; Thomson-East Coast; SG-JB Rapid Transit System Link; and Jurong Region Lines. Benito is the lead architect of the recently completed 10 stations along Klang Valley Mass Transit (KVMT) Line 2 in Malaysia and four stations along the Thomson-East Coast Line MRT in Singapore— five of which opened last November. His exemplary skills and knowledge in this architectural typology were recognised through the BCA Construction Excellence Award for Construction Safety given to C920 Newton Station.

Architectural Researcher, SAA Architects
Ooi Phaik Sim is a registered architect with the Board of Architects, Singapore with over 12 years of experience handling projects differing in scale and complexity—from private residences to large scale residential and commercial developments. She is part of SAA’s research team that explores people-centric design solutions for resilient, sustainable and endearing urban systems.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in
Construction+ Q2 2023 Issue: Infrastructure & Transport.
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