Public Spaces in High-Density Living in Singapore: A Pilot Study on Bras Basah Complex

The economic growth and population increase results in the remarkable urban transformation in Singapore during the last few decades. As a consequence, high building and population density profoundly impact living environments and the use and appropriation of public spaces.


As a part of the central area in Singapore, ROCHOR+ area is famous with its diversity and mixed-use environment. Its densification and complexity derived from constant small-scale urban transformation processes rather then large scale planning visions.


Located in this densely built-up area, Bras Basah Complex built in the 1980s was selected as an empirical study by Module X because of its mixed-use environment and high building density.


This 25-story complex offers a four-story commercial podium, two residential blocks on top and a void deck on the 5th floor as a communal area. The preliminary results of the Bras Basah Complex pilot study presented involve an examination of architectural design properties in conjunction with observations and interviews related to space-use. In a 3-D model, we demonstrate public space provision and the methods in which people access public amenities and use them over a day from the commercial edge to the void deck and further to the residential blocks.


This pilot study is based on the analysis of precinct environments in the public housing developed by Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore with the hypothesis that with progressive population and density, the ground level in Singapore will be increasingly contested and more public spaces will appear off the ground.


More than 30 precinct cases around Singapore have been explored, catalogued and categorised for their design attributes. Based on public space categorisation, 6 cases have been selected for a more in-depth analysis. The design, typology, morphology, accessibility as well as the use and appropriation of public space in high-density living in Singapore are being analysed.




Void deck on the 5th floor of Bras Basah Complex

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Bras Basah Complex from North Bridge Road

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Bras Basah Complex from Victoria Street