SIA Architectural Design Awards 2023: Design of the Year: (1) Delta Sport Centre by Red Bean Architects LLP
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Project Architects: Ar. Teo Yee Chin, Ar. Zeeson Teoh

Project Team: Germaine Tan, Yu Teik, Caroline Huang, Jia Min, Kelvin Andrian, Ignatius Ng, Alvin Chew

This is a rejuvenation of the 44-year-old Delta Sport Centre. Through intricate retention of existing structures and small deliberate incisions, the works transform the complex to improve its presence and connectivity to the diverse neighbourhoods around the vast site, thereby updating it for the current social and physical context.

Old buildings should be respected, but they do need to be updated. Changing contexts need to be understood and responded to so that affected buildings continue to be relevant and last longer without special advocacy efforts. This is our motivation behind the rejuvenation of Delta Sport Centre, a public sports facility first completed in 1979.

Occupying a 3.25-hectare site are 3 key components - the indoor sports hall fronting Alexandra Road, the swimming complex alongside Tiong Bahru Road, and the hockey stadium in between. In the late 1980s, the rise of the MRT viaduct along Tiong Bahru crudely cut off the relationship between Delta and Redhill estate. With the development of more advanced arenas, the facilities have also transitioned from being competition venues to becoming exercise spaces for the community, with the courts often overbooked.

Our intervention first links up the three venues previously operating quite separately as an integrated complex using ‘one active bridge’. This is an elevated thoroughfare that extends the overhead bridge crossing Tiong Bahru into the complex, all the way to the northern boundary. Here, facing Alexandra, the opaque brickwork is replaced with full glazing fitted within the existing concrete frame to attract commuters and nearby condominium residents. Along the eastern boundary, we removed walls and fences for more porosity to welcome residents from Henderson Crescent. Existing bleachers at the hockey pitch and badminton hall gave way to yield much-needed space for additional futsal and badminton courts.

Balancing above subtractive operations, an elevated box housing a gym is the key formal addition, sheltering a teaching pool and looking over the MRT track to gain a presence in the Redhill community. Sunshading and vision panels are integrated into the rippling façade which echoes the lively waterplay downstairs and evokes the quieter, but no less powerful diagonals in this old landmark.

Jury Citation

Delta Sport Centre is exemplary in the addressing and re-utilisation of an existing structure, demonstrating a sensitive and thoughtful approach. Through a subtractive process, employing simple yet effective manoeuvres, fresh life was breathed back into a beloved and well-utilised community space.

The programmatic positioning showcases the architect’s ability to skillfully negotiate various requirements while celebrating the history of the building.

One of the notable aspects of this project is the enhanced connectivity to the wider community, evident through the integration of pedestrian infrastructure and improved urban response. The architect has created a welcoming environment that fosters engagement with the neighbourhood. Furthermore, the project’s budget constraints did not hinder the architect’s ingenuity, as they successfully opened up the entire building and groundscape to create more facilities.

The project embodies the principles of sustainability, historical appreciation and inclusivity - serving as an example to other urban developments seeking to revitalise old places. For this, the Delta Sport Complex is awarded “Design of the Year”.