Formerly an abandoned quarry site, the transformation of the 67-hectare park has turned Rifle Range Nature Park into a cherished destination. Restoring natural forest and wetland habitats, while providing recreational spaces for Singapore’s community, it has become a well-loved sanctuary.
Located near the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of the last primary forests in Singapore, the park aims to preserve the island’s rainforest ecosystems, which are under threat from development and human activity. The design incorporates habitat creation, water-sensitive urban design, fauna protection, and heritage conservation to ensure the park’s long-term sustainability and flourishing.
1. Why is sustainability important in design nowadays?
The planet is in the midst of a biodiversity crisis and design has a significant role in shaping environments that are harmonious with nature and resilient in the face of climate change. Henning Larsen approaches landscape design with a systems design mindset; acknowledging that landscapes are intricate webs of relationships, where decisions impact the ecosystems, energy consumption and social dynamics.
Rifle Range Nature Park showcases a design approach with a deep contextual understanding. The park aims to rehabilitate the site and offer the local community with a space to appreciate the natural environment in Singapore. This initiative tackles biodiversity loss caused by encroaching developments on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, one of Singapore’s last primary forests.
2. How do you balance sustainability and commercialisation?
The global environmental issues faced over the years require an unrelenting effort to remedy. The situation will continue to deteriorate if no action is taken. Integrating sustainable design solutions adds long-term value to our projects.
3. What are your future plans?
In landscape design, the uniqueness of each site, influenced by distinct conditions and possessing its own identity, ensures that no two designs are ever the same. This inherent individuality makes the future of landscape design an exciting prospect for me.
4. What is your design superpower?
If we have a superpower, it is to clarify our stakeholders’ true needs and aspirations through a collaborative approach and provide win-win solutions that benefit all parties.
From that, we are able to build the foundation of any inspiring project. We pose critical design questions to redefine the problem statement for a larger end objective – working towards remediating climate change and loss of biodiversity. We aim to give the environment a regeneration boost, ensuring its sustained flourishing while minimising the need for intervention.
5. What is the best part about your job?
We believe that making the world a better place, playing a role in increasing biodiversity and being a part of people’s fond memories is a noble profession. Our designs contribute to the transformation Singapore into a Green City in Nature under the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the national agenda on sustainable development.
When people share the sense of pride, ownership and stories revolving around the landscapes we design, it is an ultimate indicator of a well-designed space and a great source of pride for us all at Henning Larsen.