Clarke Quay, conceived to reposition a run down if historic site on the Singapore River has demonstrated ‘convivial urbanism’ since it was completed in 2006.

Designed while at Alsop’s and harking back directly to Cedric Price’s idea that architecture could enhance lives by being delightful and useful, the quay’s playful canopies shade the outdoor spaces during the day, give light at night, and assist air movement to help keep the ambient temperature far enough below the natural level to feel comfortable. On the riverside itself ‘lilypads’ shaded by ‘bluebells’ cantilever at several levels over the water to maximize the number of people who can eat with a view over the river.

What could have been a depressingly familiar story of sweeping away the grain of a historic district in favour of an anonymous enclosed space - especially as the client asked for an air conditioned street - where added decorative motifs taken from any culture have no purpose other than subliminal marketing, became instead a group of four outdoor streets around a central space, with a modified climate and a visual language which gives a distinctive identity to the process of climate modification as well as adding enjoyment to the experience of visiting.

With over 2,000,000 visitors a year, Clarke Quay shows how conviviality can bring commercial success. That stems to an extent at least from the evolution of an architecture that makes something of its location - Singapore’s climate and the riverside site. Shop houses, as much the traditional element in Singapore’s urban grain as their terraced cousins in London, still line the streets, but the streets have themselves become more habitable and so suitable for more varied and extended uses.

The waterfront, Singapore’s lifeblood when trade was still face-to-face but dirty and redundant after commerce moved on, is reinhabited though on terms more suited to today’s economic and social conditions. In turn this suggests new narratives which transform and carry traces of previous identities, and so adds a degree of emotional contact that is deeper than desire for material goods.

Text by Jeremy Melvin, Architectural Review 2015

克拉克码头项目,重构了新加坡河上的历史遗址,自2006年完工以来,一直被誉为“欢宴之都”的典范。

该项目的设计要追溯到Alsop建筑事务所时期。按照建筑师塞德里克•普赖斯的理论,有用且赏心悦目的建筑能够提升人们的生活。正如对克拉克码头的改造,活泼有趣的顶棚设计能在白天为户外空间提供阴凉,入夜则提供照明,同时通过改善空气流通降低室外温度,为在顶棚下活动的人们提供舒适的荫蔽。在莲叶状的河畔,风信子般的雨棚悬挑于水面,形成层次丰富的阴凉之地,使得人们可以一边惬意用餐一边欣赏水上风光。

其实该项目本来很有可能沦为一种我们再熟悉不过的令人沮丧的版本:将古朴的历史遗迹一扫而空,取而代之以一个封闭的毫无特色的室内空间,尤其是当客户最初要求建造一条配有空调的室内商业街时,再加上各种以迎合市场为目的,盲目添加的可能来自任何文化背景的图案装饰。事实上,克拉克码头改造反其道而行之,由四个开放街道围合成一个中心广场,一方面通过技术调节室外微气候,另一方面赋予这一调节过程以令人惊艳的视觉语言,使其在满足功能需要的同时富有鲜明的个性,为来访者的体验增加了无限乐趣。

克拉克码头每年有超过200万游客来访,它显示了如何通过欢宴和聚会带来商业上的成功。在建筑的演变过程中,其地域性——新加坡的气候特征及滨水文脉在某种程度上始终得以保留和传承。那些和伦敦街道上的联排别墅如出一辙的商铺,作为新加坡的传统城市元素,一如昨日的勾勒着街道的形状。不同的是,街道本身变得更舒适宜人了,并且比往日更能灵活的适应多变和多元的使用需求。

码头,在过去当面交易盛行的年代曾经是新加坡的生命线,随着贸易发展,它显得肮脏而多余,其改造是为了更适应如今的经济和社交环境。相应地,它需要以新的叙事方式来转换和延续它昔日的特色与痕迹,增加一种情感上的连接,这比单纯追逐商业欲望显得更为意义深远。

撰文Jeremy Melvin2015 建筑评论

Clarke Quay

克拉克码头