Promoting active ageing with Cosy Contours

Construction, Online Exclusive Feature / 2023

Promoting active ageing with Cosy Contours

January 27, 2023

In line with our ongoing design competition FuturArc Prize (FAP) 2023: Cross-Generational Architecture, we are highlighting projects along the theme for your inspiration. Click here to learn more about the brief!

As populations age, what is the best model of care and empowerment for senior citizens?

In Singapore, where a quarter of citizens is projected to be over 65 years old by 2030, the government has espoused a philosophy of ageing in place to ensure wellness and maintain the quality of life. Ageing in place is defined as growing old in the home, community and environment that one is familiar with, with minimal change or disruption to one‘s life and activities.

Under the mentorship of Adjunct Assoc Prof Eugene Shum, Chief Community Development Officer at Changi General Hospital, a team of students looked at how architecture can enable seniors to healthily and actively age in place. This involves leveraging community spaces to allow residents to keep well physically, mentally and socially. Active involvement and participation of the residents throughout the project ensured the needs of the residents were identified and the designs are practical and appealing to the residents.

What do residents want?

In partnership with Changi General Hospital, Cosy Contours was created for, and together with, residents at the mature HDB estates of Bedok South Blocks 70 and 71, Siglap. The project, geared at promoting active ageing through communal spaces, materialised as a multi-purpose, expandable structure that was inspired by traditional market stalls. It serves as an open-air pavilion that can adapt to various neighbourhood activities, encouraging users to engage in gardening and interact with each other.

The team of students at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) engaged many elderly residents in the area through interviews, surveys, house visits and a workshop to gather ideas. They also sought insights from local grassroots leaders, Siglap Community Club leaders, and the People’s Association officials.

This process resulted in three resident-selected activity concepts: the learning space, the void deck garden, and the flea market.

Design exploration

The team wanted to design a modular space comprising of a kit of configurable parts, and broke down each activity concept into its functional components. They adopted the concept of a ‘tessellating host’ that can host different programmes. This design also allows for future expansion and aggregation, much like a seed that can blossom.

Natural materials, such as marine plywood, were chosen to evoke a sense of comfort and familiarity. The team also experimented with a variety of solar-powered lighting systems to illuminate the structure.

Given the elderly demographic, age-friendly features were implemented for the users’ safety and to facilitate accessibility. This included a wheelchair ramp, adding markers to demarcate steps, and ensuring suitable heights for furniture and display shelves.

At the opening showcase, residents brought their own plants to decorate the structure, interacting with each other and the team—enlivening the potential of the space.


Project Name
Cosy Contours

Bedok South Blk 70, Singapore

Completion Date
5 August 2022

Site Area
465 sqm

Gross Floor Area
8 square metres

Building Height
2.75 metres

Changi General Hospital

Project Sponsor
Changi General Hospital

Adjunct Assoc Prof Eugene Shum, Chief Community Development Officer, Changi General Hospital

Project Team
Singapore University Technology and Design (SUTD) students as their final year Capstone Project:
Ian Chung Enzhi; Janus Wayne Enclona Lim; Rachel Cheah Jiawen; Chung Kai Hern David; Gerald Wong Chian Hao; Jaryl Lim Yu-Herng; Tan Yunyi

Cosy Contours

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