I’m Alper Kokcu. Join my journey where I am exploring cultures and ideas via the connection of art, nature and architecture.

The Sandcrawler Building

The Sandcrawler Building

Today I’ll bring you to a building which has a connection with an extremely popular motion picture. I’ll bring you to Singapore.

It was the autumn of 2016, when me and my wife Tanya traveled to Singapore and checked a lot of nice looking buildings. One of them was an office building which is a bit far from the center. We were heading to the National University of Singapore. Yes, I like to visit universities as well. But let’s skip the university for now. It was not just an office building, it was the Lucasfilm’s Singapore facility, designed by Andrew Bromberg from Aedas.

This explains why they called this building the Sandcrawler. If you watched the movie, you already know that Sandcrawlers are huge armored vehicles, looking like a fortress on the wheels. They were used by Jawas, little trouble makers.

I am not fan of imitating things when it comes to the design of a building. Since it’s highly possible to miss the functional requirements of the building by trying to fit in the image. And sometimes they even look silly.

But let’s be fair. Sandcrawler from the movie itself looks like a building rather than a vehicle. Besides, designers state that the building’s particular form was not a request from the client, but the outcome of master planning and site conditions that dictated construction specifications, such as roof topography, envelope heights, elevations and setbacks.

In fact, that strong and huge image of the building from far is changing when you come closer. Once the landscape flows you under the building, that perception of a huge fortress changes in your mind. There you understand that it is actually a V shape-planned building, which envelops the super green yard within.

This courtyard originally was intended as an outdoor cinema but later clients changed their mind and proceed with this green planet with secret paths. It was so pleasant to get lost in there and I guess this -ironically- can be found similar with the droid sucking vehicle from the movie. You just let yourself being drawn into the yard, which is covered by glazing, extended from the roof.

Secure, yet spacious and welcoming public place, great for a break from work and refreshing your mind. These gardens continue at the ends of the V-shaped wings as greenhouses with hanging planting around. 

This is not only a visual thing but something which follows Singapore’s respectful green policies as well. The elevations stepping down while each floor overhanging the next, creates shading for the floors below. High performance facade, louvered canopies, terraced vegetation and water features all contribute to sustainability.

The Sandcrawler building received couple of awards, including the American Institute of Architects International Region Design Award. The jury reported that “The Sandcrawler Project accomplishes many things at once through its design.  As a building, the structure’s unique form is a physical manifestation of the brand, image, and identity of the company.  At the same time, the exterior and interior spaces are intended to foster a strong corporate culture and promote enhanced team interactions.  The jury agreed that this working environment would be an exciting and fulfilling place to build a career.”

I couldn’t agree more, on our visit I also told my wife that I would love to work in such environment. Once the project handles the functional requirements well and also creates a consistent image, then you stop talking about what the building looks like, but how it feels to be there.

How do you feel in your office, in your work area? Are there enough spaces for you to focus on what you are doing? Does it give you a mind-opening place to gather with your colleagues?

Write me about this. Let’s talk architecture and may the force be with you.

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