Kampung Admiralty:Working with nature to transform the ecological value of a neighbourhood

Dense urban developments have a detrimental impact on biodiversity and liveability. Kampung Admiralty, situated in one of Singapore’s oldest neighbourhoods, demonstrates how nature and innovation can harmonise to create attractive, biodiverse, and resilient communities.
Kampung Admiralty’s terraced layout enables extensive water conservation whereby the system gathers, purifies, and reserves stormwater for reuse in irrigation.
Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, now rebranded as Henning Larsen, was engaged by WOHA, the architect of this mixed-use public housing project, in developing a rich and diverse planting scheme for the rooftop park and urban farm that is designed to attract and nurture biodiversity.
Initially an empty, unutilised field between residential towers, a marketplace and a train station, the site is now a biodiversity hotspot where people and nature thrive, improving the ecological value of the neighbourhood. The development includes housing for seniors, a vibrant People’s Plaza with sheltered community spaces, a retail centre, medical centre spread out across two floors, and a tranquil community park and urban farm, as well as childcare and elder care centres.
Henning Larsen was responsible for landscape design, which includes a tropical rainforest, as well as water management systems. Over 100% landscape replacement was achieved through ground level planting, green roofs and vertical green walls.
Henning Larsen, became part of Ramboll in 2019.
An urban rainforest
The range of biodiversity on this project aims to recreate what is essentially a small tropical rainforest. The landscaping is central to the building’s design and an important means of attaining desired levels of liveability and sustainability.
In total, greenery covers 53% of the building plot area, achieving 100% green replacement. More than just decorative, this manages the site’s natural resources, enabling the building to act as a landscape.
A series of rooftop terraces drop towards the building’s centre featuring more than 50 species of plants in a variety of typologies. They range from water features on the ground plane, to planter beds, community gardens, and farming on the upper floors. Mature plants and trees have also been planted, requiring a reinforced superstructure to support the extra load.
Landscaping was designed in collaboration with Singapore’s National Parks Board, who advised on appropriate types of vegetation as well as structural requirements to hold the resulting load.
Recreating Singapore’s traditional connection to nature
The landscape design is reminiscent of Singapore’s erstwhile “kampung” or village life, complete with community farming plots that encourage interaction. Local fruit trees that were once common in the kampungs are planted to provide senior residents familiarity with the past and inspire younger generations.
Water features providing alternative habitats, and the diverse planting palette that includes shrubs and trees providing fruit and nectar, help attract a wide range of species.
Blue-green infrastructure conserves water and reduces heat
The integration of blue-green infrastructure is central to this modern interpretation of the kampung.
The lush greenery, open water, and contiguous canopy for shading help to lower surface temperatures on-site, creating pleasant outdoor spaces for people to enjoy in the tropical heat.
A series of water filtration networks built on the rooftop terraces cascade toward the building’s centre, where stormwater runoff is conserved through harvesting, cleansing, and recycling rainwater. Vegetated filters, rain chains, and a “rain garden” collect and filter 45% of site catchment before sending it to a rainwater harvesting tank, from which it is redistributed throughout the building for irrigation. Any excess is discharged into the eco-pond at ground level.
The eco-pond collects overflow water and recirculates it through natural plant filters, creating a microhabitat for the residents beloved fishes and turtles.
More than just decorative, these features manage the site’s natural resources, enabling a living architecture that showcases how we reconcile the challenges of resource management, environmental protection and human quality of life.
The development has attracted critical acclaim with a Skyrise Greenery Award and World Architecture Festival Award.

Facts about Kampung Admiralty

  • : >100%
    landscape replacement achieved through ground level planting, green roofs and vertical green walls
  • : 50
    different species found during a biodiversity audit
  • : >1 million litres
    of tap water saved annually by using treated stormwater recycled for irrigation

A biodiversity audit conducted after the development was completed found a total of 50 different animal species, including 19 bird species and 22 insect species¹.

Leonard Ng Keok Poh
Country Market Director, Henning Larsen, APAC

“Our population was growing old, and we wanted people to lead active and meaningful lives. HDB had looked for new ideas to develop new designs which would fit an elderly population; to build flats, common areas, neighbourhoods that promote strong social support and community bonding, and to let people in their silver years to stay socially engaged, and live safely, healthily and happily. Many government agencies and partners have come together to plan this ‘vertical kampung’.”
Former Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong

“Kampung", which is Malay for "village", evokes memories of Singapore's pre-rapid urban development era and community cohesion. Beyond revitalising the "Kampung Spirit", it is about reintroducing and reconnecting with nature, wildlife, and the natural elements around us. It represents a shift in our tolerance and desire for proximity to nature within the dense built environment.

Agnes Chain
Senior Landscape Architect, Henning Larsen

[1] An ecological audit conducted by bioSEA Kampung Admiralty, Singapore - bioSEA.

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