Singapore will soon embark on one of the most ambitious rails-to-trails project in the world. The country’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) recently selected Nikken Sekkei's proposal to redevelop a 24-kilometer (15 miles) disused rail corridor into a multipurpose linear park. The former cross-country train line spans the entire nation of Singapore, from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on the south to Malaysia’s border on the north.
Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei designed the winning bid in collaboration with Tierra Design and Arup Singapore. The team beat an impressive shortlist that included OMA, MVRDV, and West 8. Designed as an “inclusive space” accessible to all, the Lines of Life masterplan includes 122 access points, 21 modular platforms with amenities, and a paved cycling path that runs the park’s full length. The proposal also aims to keep the corridor’s existing lush landscape intact as much as possible and to treat the environment with a careful hand.
The 24-kilometer linear park includes eight “activity nodes,” from active event spaces, like an outdoor film screening area, to quiet rainforest viewing platforms and nature boardwalks. Nikken Sekkei and Tierra Design are now tasked with creating a preliminary design and feasibility study for a 4-kilometer-long region stretching from the former Bukit Timah Railway Station to the Hillview area. The URA has also opened the design up for public feedback from now until the end of next March.
“Lines of Life sets out a vision for a seamless public space, the preservation and reintegration of existing green areas and a relaxed extension of modern life,” says Nikken Sekkei. “The proposal devises a strategy of design criteria and objectives to make the Rail Corridor inspiring, accessible, comfortable, memorable, eco-friendly and growing/evolving, as it ‘stitches the Nation with Lines of Life,’ not just from north to south, but from west to east as well, and weaves the communities on both sides into the life of the rail corridor by providing a continuous high quality public space adding to the high quality of life in Singapore, as well as acting as a catalyst to development and community bonding.”