Like in many densely populated cities around the world, Singapore’s typical approach to urban community living has largely been built around clusters of tall vertical high-rises – often with little or no attention paid to the relationship between buildings.

However, one of the largest and most ambitious residential developments in this Southeast Asian city-state is offering a radical reinterpretation of what community living can mean.

Designed by Ole Scheeren, former partner of notable Dutch firm OMA, The Interlace is a rethink of typical Singaporean residential high-rises. Rather than following the standard approach of tall vertical towers grouped in clusters, the design of The Interlace emphasizes horizontal connectivity as a way to reinforce the important role of community in our lives.

The development consists of thirty-one apartment blocks, each six stories tall, stacked in a hexagonal arrangement. This stacked arrangement forms eight generous courtyards, all with their own distinct landscaping identity. One courtyard, for example, features a 164-foot long swimming pool, while another is covered with a grass lawn and a series of mini-playgrounds. These distinct spaces lend a unique personality to each cluster of units, forming bonds between residents and helping to foster a stronger sense of belonging.

Stacking the apartment blocks also multiplies the number of horizontal and cantilevered surfaces that can be populated by roof gardens and landscaped terraces. Elevated passageways link the various apartment blocks, while a continuous running track loops through the complex.

The result is an extensive network of private and shared spaces that aims to bring the community closer together by breaking the isolating effects that vertical towers can impart. It’s an impressive new vision for housing and social living – both for Singapore and other cities around the world.

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