Monday, 28 November 2016

Plans to develop Jurong Lake Gardens Central and East unveiled

Chinese, Japanese Gardens to get major upgrade
Features include waterfront promenade, water gallery trail but iconic landmarks to be retained
By Adrian Lim, The Sunday Times, 27 Nov 2016

Masterplans for the central and eastern segments of the Jurong Lake Gardens development were unveiled yesterday - the final pieces to complete a 90ha national garden in the heartland.

The proposed plans will see the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, built in the mid-1970s, receive an upgrade with new community spaces, tropical and aquatic gardens, as well as food and beverage outlets.

Along the eastern shore of Jurong Lake, residents will be able to enjoy a new waterfront promenade and a "water gallery trail" for leisure boaters to explore nature and art.

Yesterday, a public exhibition to gather feedback on these proposed concepts was launched at Canopy @ J Link, Jurong East by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

The plans were developed by a team comprising Liu & Wo Architects and landscape architecture firms SALD and Landscape Design Inc, which were chosen last month via a tender.

Mr Wong assured residents that while the Chinese and Japanese Gardens will be refurbished, iconic landmarks such as the pagoda, connecting bridge, tea house and bonsai garden will be retained.

"Many of our Jurong residents would have fond memories of climbing up the seven-storey pagoda to see the skyline of Jurong. Some of you have taken your wedding photos at the Double Beauty Bridge that connects the Chinese and Japanese Gardens," he added.

Mr Wong said that Jurong Lake Gardens will be Singapore's third national garden, joining the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Gardens by the Bay.

The size of 144 football fields, the 90ha Jurong Lake Gardens also comprises a western segment - facing Yuan Ching Road - that is currently being developed. When the western segment is ready in 2018, there will be a boardwalk, children's water play area and a new water sports facility, among other amenities.

Development of the central and eastern sections will follow soon after. The National Parks Board expects the project to be progressively completed from 2020.

The Jurong Lake Gardens is part of a larger transformation of the Jurong Lake District, which will be home to Singapore's second Central Business District (CBD), and also the station for the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail.

Mr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at property consulting firm Edmund Tie & Company, said the Gardens lends the district a "unique identity", and fits in with the surrounding developments.

"It will attract companies and talents to locate to the second CBD," said Mr Lee, adding that those who work nearby will be able to enjoy a stroll there during their lunch break.

Mr Alvin Liew, director of Liu & Wo Architects, said they wanted to create a "people's garden" and re-introduce nature to visitors. This led his team to come up with concepts like a swamp forest trail, moss and fern garden, and an edible show garden whose fruit and vegetable produce will be served in a restaurant.

Other highlights include a "water-wall" courtyard that will surround visitors on three sides with a 3m-high waterfall.

The exhibition will be open daily at Canopy @ J Link from 11am to 9pm until Dec 4. From Dec 5 to 11, it will be at Lakeside MRT station from 5am to 12.45am.

That old familiar feeling and something new
Transformed Chinese, Japanese Gardens will form central part of future Jurong Lake Gardens
By Adrian Lim, The Sunday Times, 27 Nov 2016

A "good blend of something familiar, with many new elements which are exciting and fresh". That is how National Development Minister Lawrence Wong described the transformation that the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, over 40 years old now, will undergo.

The facelift will add community and nature spaces to both gardens, which will form the central portion of the future 90ha Jurong Lake Gardens, it was revealed yesterday at the start of a public exhibition showcasing the masterplans for the area. The gardens will nonetheless retain their iconic structures.

The project, which will start construction in end-2018 and be progressively completed from 2020, will create new spaces for park goers - such as a courtyard with a 3m-high waterfall, and an event lawn for up to 7,000 people.

These will be built around iconic landmarks such as the Chinese Garden's pagodas and Stone Boat.

From now till Dec 4, the public can visit an exhibition at the Canopy @ J Link in Jurong East and give National Parks Board (NParks) their views on the proposed plans. There, the public can also view plans for Jurong Lake Gardens' eastern section.

While it is "mostly a grass patch" now, Mr Wong said the plans being proposed will involve adding a waterfront promenade and amphitheatre, and a skate park at the northern tip. The area will also be home to the new Science Centre, expected to be ready in 2020.

The central and eastern parts of Jurong Lake Gardens will complement a western portion - undergoing construction - which will be ready in 2018.

Mr Wong said studies are being done to connect the Gardens around the perimeter, and link the three parts to form a 6km walking, jogging and cycling trail. "The only part that is missing is a plot of land, which is now the Jurong Country Club. But in the future, it will be the location of the High Speed Rail Terminus that connects to Kuala Lumpur," he said.

To help senior citizens, families with children and wheelchair users move about in the Jurong Lake Gardens, NParks will also look into options such as self-driving vehicles, buggies and shuttle buses.

Plans for the Jurong Lake Gardens Central and East were proposed by a team comprising Liu & Wo Architects, Landscape Design Inc and SALD.

SALD's director Chang Huai Yan said that in the team's proposal, plants have a practical role as well as an aesthetic one.Water lilies, for example, are used in aquatic gardens for "phytoremediation", tapping the plants' natural processes to take up contaminants from the lake's water.

NParks launches public exhibition on Jurong Lake Gardens Central and East

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