Jervois Mansion Architectural Concept

Jervois Mansion Sketch


Our awareness of the wonders of the natural world and the preciousness of social spaces has been heightened over the course of the present pandemic. This awareness has reinforced our appreciation of nature and communal spaces and rekindled our affinity towards our history and its built heritage. Jervois Mansion is conceived and designed in response to these three broad aspirations.


1.1 City in Nature

Singapore as a City in Nature – where wild roosters, otters, and other insects and animals can thrive in its urban landscapes – is a natural progression from the Garden City of the 80s and the City in the Garden of the 2000s. Our proposed Jervois Mansions is calibrated to strikes a fine balance between fulfilling the site’s redevelopment potential and the cultivation of a diverse ecology. Here landscape is made to perform beyond its aesthetic value. It is designed to allow ecological pathways through the site’s open spaces and beyond, across the vertical planes, from basement to the ground floor and all the way to the roof via, façade planters. By setting this unimpeded habitat, a diverse ecology can be cultivated where insects and small living things can migrate freely.


1.2 Community of living things

As work becomes more solitary, imposed by the need for social distancing, the need for spaces that cultivates social interaction in a safe manner is ever more crucial. In Jervois Mansions, communal spaces are designed and curated to offer a wide variety of activity that fosters communal bonding. They range from large gathering spaces to smaller exclusive spaces for two. Crucially, our envisioned community is composed not merely of our species but includes benign insects and animals living in the gardens of Jervois Mansions. Through this careful curation, residents can truly live in nature and the future generations of urbanites can experience growing up with an intimate relationship with nature.


1.3 Singapore’s Heritage

Jervois Mansions, located in the embassy and good class bungalows neighbourhood of Jervois and Chatsworth, allowed us to draw on the heritage of low rise architecture of its colonial past. We have drawn lessons from Singapore’s Black & White bungalows, especially in the way climate has been incorporated to transform the idioms of Palladian villas suitable for the tropics. These didactic tropes are then furthered in our architecture to create a ‘living façade’ and a revalidated grammar that fuses architecture and interior as a coherent whole.



2.Architecture and site planning

Our proposal is guided by three main ambitions. First, with a plot ratio of 1.4 and a height restriction of five storeys, Jervois Mansion aspires to the qualities of its low-rise context. It eschews the bulky and wall like development of the five storey housing blocks along Jervois Road. Second, the architecture of our proposal draws from the precedent of Singapore’s Black & White bungalows. Third, the proposal advances the idea of the City in Nature – as a natural progression from the City in the Garden – by proposing a unique tropical housing block, gardens and façade.


2.1 Context

Jervois Mansion resides in a context characterised by low rise bungalows and embassy buildings to its north and a band of taller residential developments to its south. The former, with its loosely placed bungalows surrounded by lush planting makes for a unique and pleasant environment for a mid-density residential development and an opportunity to draw upon the experience of architecture and landscape akin to the Black & White bungalows in early twentieth century.


2.2 Free standing villa-blocks

Six free standing five-storey blocks are placed loosely on the site, akin to the placement of villas in a good class bungalow neighbourhood. This arrangement creates a porous ground plane and elevation along all four boundaries of the site. The blocks read like free standing villas, nestled in lush landscape and with hidden fences incorporated into planting, the proposal appears as a fenceless housing cluster that merges with its surrounding good class bungalow neighbourhood.


2.3 A sequence of courtyards

The six residential blocks are also arranged to capture five interconnected courtyards. These open landscaped spaces offer good setback distance between blocks and host carefully planned communal amenities and distinct landscape features. Each courtyard is punctuated by one storey pavilions that shares the same architectural grammar.


2.4 A living façade

We have drawn our architecture from one of the key qualities of Singapore’s Black & White bungalows – the living façade. The veranda of these bungalows encapsulates the architectural response to the hot and humid climate of Singapore, at the same time bringing nature close to living spaces. We have revalidated this living façade with two elements: the continuous planter and balconies resting on planting. The former is a 1m wide by 500mm deep externalised planter that runs the entire length of the front and side façade of the housing blocks. Balconies are then placed above these planters, to ensure that they come into close contact with nature and lush planting despite being away from the ground. These white planters and balconies are supported and articulated by fine black frames and together they allude to the precedent of the 19th century colonial bungalows.

Communal Planter Curtain Wall

Curtain wall glazing is used to ensure the close relationship between the interior living spaces and the living façade and allow ample daylight and generous open views. The combination of thin frames, hovering planters and gliding balconies makes for an architecture that is light and airy.


2.5 A family of pavilions

Drawing on the same grammar of the façade – derived from the Black & White Bungalows – seven pavilions are placed to activate the five courtyards. These one-storey pavilions are all open except for the clubhouse and gym. They adopt the same fine black frames of the housing façade and are defined as either a circular or a concaved rectangular footprint. Together they form a coherent family of form whilst displaying varied individual qualities depending on the programme they contain.

Landscape Pavilion

Clubhouse Gym

Entrance Pavilion



3. Interior design

Curated for the modern homeowner, the apartment is envisioned as a collection of spaces to dwell, grow, explore, work, and entertain. Drawings on the charms of Singapore’s colonial architecture, we have revalidated its unique design features with modern materials, suited for the demands, desires and sensibilities of contemporary life. Our material palette is muted and imbued with a sense of calm and serenity and harmonizes with the vividness of nature. This same material palette will gently seep through the layers of patterned and textured screen to the exterior. In all, the interior expresses a new rendition of living alongside nature, with a seamless integration of indoors and outdoors – modern tropical with a touch of colonial influence.



4. Landscape Design

The next generation Urban Landscape seeks a stewardship equilibrium between extraction and returns. There is an inseparable link between Life, Wellness and Happiness amongst all life on Earth, all of which are underpinned by Nature.

It envelops us with an environment to exist, food to thrive, medicines to heal, beauty for inspiration and connections for well well-being. The concept of a sustenance web is embedded in the innate human need for an abode within Nature that embraces Comfort, exudes Cheerfulness and is alive with Creation (3Cs), striving to mirror a physical Garden of Eden. Our garden transcends the tranquil sanctuary of a home and the excitement and surprise of urban life to the holistic fulfillment of the local and expatriate community.

The physical landscape is shaped and molded by the following strategies:

– Plants: Emergent trees, mid mid-canopy trees, small trees, large shrubs, shrubs, creepers and climbers, large groundcovers, creeping groundcovers and lawns are arranged in appropriate layers to facilitate natural development of flora and fauna habitats.

– The palette of plant are positioned to allow the natural growth habits of each plant species to shape the aesthetics of this living environment. Naturally, there will be a need for maintenance, but this will kept to a minimum. A dynamic maintenance approach of ‘light touch and selective intervention’ will be taken. Ornamentation and manicured landscapes are downplayed, while the proliferation of butterflies, dragonflies and birds are emphasized.

– A diverse range of plant species will be used with a strong emphasis on productive plant species. This living environment will be population by plant species that are either edible, useable or medicinal in nature. These, where practicable, will be harvested and utilized by the resident community in their myriad of ways.

– This development’s common areas are designed to be an integral whole with various characters, and ecological habitats distributed throughout the basement, 1 1st storey, façade planters and roof. This includes incorporating the perimeter green buffers into the overall landscape aesthetics and usage to create a seamless landscape full of life and vibrancy. The development is made up of multiple courtyards, roof gardens, a 100 meters long linear garden in the basement, and a façade that is woven with plants both horizontally and vertically. Gradual transition between the landscape and the building, planting and hardscape will soften the boundaries between interior and exterior spaces. Even the external walkways are laid out to allow plants to grow in between and proliferate the landscape.

Jervois Mansion Landscape Keyplan


4.1 Entrance drop-off courtyard

The entrance drop-off courtyard is punctuated by cluster of a majestic Kompassia excelsa (tualang) and two Tabebuia Rosea trees, that will generate a majestic tree trunk embraced by a lower canopy of pink blossoms in April and August, inducing a sense of majesty and celebration. This verdant beauty celebrates our tropical setting.


4.2 Swimming Pool Courtyard

A swimming pool is positioned in the middle courtyard anchored on one end by the club house. The pool’s perimeter is defined by a dichotomy of straight and curved edges punctuated by a single island in the middle. This generates spaces for swimming laps, relaxing, sunbathing and playing in an imaginary ‘longkang’. The pool tiles are in tones of dark green, instead of traditional blue, to better integrate this larger water body into the landscape, and reflect the luscious surroundings in its waters. This courtyard is envisaged as a magnet for the resident community to interact and host activities within an aquatic setting.


4.3 Tembusu and Waterlily Courtyard

The courtyard is an elongated space comprising a linear lawn terminating at a cluster of majestic Fagraea fragrans (Tembusu) trees and two waterlily ponds. The resident community is encouraged to come to the open environment of the lawn for informal active and passive activities. The ponds offer a more shaded and quieter space for relaxation or contemplation while admiring the regular blooming of waterlilies, flirting of dragonflies and darting of small fishes.


4.4 Event Lawn Courtyard

As a contrast to the swimming pool’s aquatic environment, the resident community can enjoy a large open lawn environment here. It is a natural playground for children, adults and the aged, to gather under the sun or the stars for informal games, picnics, outdoor cinema event, etc. A towering and majestic Shorea roxburghii tree dominates and anchors the space while providing shade through the daylight hours. Two circular, open sided pavilion islands, set within a biological pond offers a sheltered space for events and social gatherings. An ecological habitat centred around the pond offers up a natural community of aquatic plants, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs and a variety of fishes for all to enjoy and admire.


4.5 Fitness Courtyard

This comprises an indoor gym, a yoga deck and meditation deck framing a curvaceous reflective pool. A porous walkway spans its length allowing aquatic plants to grow through allowing it to be integrated it into the landscape.


4.6 Cocoon Garden, Picnic Garden, Discovery Garden

The Cocoon Garden lies on the northern edge boundary. Connected by a single path, it is a space comprising three individualised ‘cocoons’, offering a quiet and contemplative environment for the individual or couples. Each cocoon, Square, Triangle and Round have its own character in terms of looks and sounds. The larger space embraces the three cocoons in a moss and fern garden shaded over by towering Dryobalanops aromatic tropical trees.

The Picnic Garden lies on the eastern edge boundary. With the morning sun and shade provided by the buildings in the afternoon it is an appropriate space for smaller group activities and picnics. A series of small lawn spaces are distributed along the garden for this purpose. A large hammock and small bar facility is provided at its centre.

The Discovery Garden lies at the Southern edge boundary facing the drainage reserve. It is a good location to encourage an ecology of flora and fauna connected to thrive. It is envisaged as a series of small decks each showcasing discovery of the lifecycles and symbiosis of nature at work. It will be particularly interesting for children in their learning journey about nature. Bird and butterfly feeding and bathing, and observing the development of butterflies from larvae and caterpillars will be featured.

Secret Gardens Keyplan


4.7 Basement

A 100 meter long basement linear garden lines the Western edge of the basement and is illuminated by sunlight through openings at the ground level. It is connected to the ground level by a series of stairs. The illuminance of the green against the darker enclosed environment brings a strong element of visual pleasure and relief to the functional basement. A variety of shade plant gardens are arranged along this garden.

Basement Linear Keyplan


4.8 Rooftop

The roof landscape is an integral part of the Sustenance Web. All six blocks are conceived as a single landscape with various community facilities distributed throughout the spaces, and connected by a series of trellised bridges. The ecology and plant palette on the roof differs from the ground level because of its greater exposure to sunlight.

Facility types are organized around each individual block: Block 1 is more family oriented with a barbeque, spa and swing; Block 2 is a more relaxing and contemplative space under the sun and stars with sun tanning lawn and hammocks; Block 3 is a unique attempt as a larger space for regenerating native woodlands; Block 4 is a children’s play environment with spaces for discovery and expression, treehouse and trampoline; Block 5 is a space for community activities of urban farming and sundry activities; and Block 6 is an activity space with work pods, meeting space, party space and spa.

Roof Terrace Plan



5. Environmentally sustainable design

The next generation Urban Landscape seeks a stewardship equilibrium between extraction and returns. There is an inseparable link between Life, Wellness and Happiness amongst all life on Earth, all of which are underpinned by Nature.

To achieve a smart and healthy built environment for the community, lush landscaping are strategically placed to reduce the overall urban heat island within the development, thereby lowering the ambient temperature for the residence. Lush greeneries and ecosystems such as ponds, gardens, and a unique “linear” garden in the basement are biophilic features of this development. These elements encourage residents to be close to nature and enhance their overall wellbeing through better air quality; provisions of natural forms of temperature control; access to natural light and urban ecology.


5.1 Passive Design

The overall block massing and home unit design is optimized for natural ventilation with the help of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation. Orientation of the blocks were designed to maximize North East (NE) and South West (SW) facing to minimize harsh morning, direct sunlight penetration in the evening and promotes wind flow across the development.

Solar Simulation Sun Path

Blocks are placed in a staggered arrangement so that wind can penetrate through the gaps, allowing better overall wind flow. Clerestories are place strategically on the roof to introduce natural daylighting and encourage wind flow into the dwelling units.

Wind Flow Simulation

The façade materials were carefully selected to ensure thermal comfort. A Residential Envelope Transmittance Value (RETV) value of less than 20W/m2 was achieved through a series of measure, which include the use of laminated windows to reduce total heat gain through the façade. Apartments are design with balconies and communal planters that serves as projections over the façade to reduce glare, solar heat gain and pollutants into the units.


5.2 Active design

Several active designs strategies will be implemented, covering energy, water, green transport, indoor air quality to smart and green lifestyle. All light fixtures are high energy efficient LED lightings with a minimum savings of 30%. They are fitted with motion sensors to increase the overall energy savings, along with the 5-ticks air-conditioning systems.

To improve overall ventilation and reduce the energy usage on the air-conditioning systems within the units, development will also feature ceiling fans. For common areas, energy efficient lifts with variable voltage variable frequency (VVVF) drive will be installed to allow for low starting current during operation. The lift sleep mode also reduces ventilation and lighting power consumption when the lift is not in use.

All the landscape will be irrigated with automatic water irrigation system, fitted with rain sensor, and all water fittings will be at least 2 ticks WELS rating certified. Together, these measures will reduce the overall water consumption.



6. Accredition & Award

On 02 July 2021, JERVOIS MANSION, 卓苑 , was awarded the BCA Green Mark Goldplus (Super Low Energy) Award based on the Green Mark Criteria for New Residential Buildings (RB: 2016). Jervois Mansion would be the first private residential development to achieve SLE RB.

Jervois Mansion Tree Pavilion









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