Back in Style
Varsity Park Condominium is about re-living the carefree days of the past
Issue: Aug 2009
The central focus of Varsity Park Condominium is a Water Village, housing facilities like the lap pool and club house. Kelong-like elements and forms are used to evoke a sense of history harking back to the fishing village days
How many can imagine Singapore when it was just a quiet and laid-back island? When coconut trees swayed in the breeze, as fishermen bring in the haul of the day?
Residents of Varsity Park Condominium would not have experienced those times, but they can most certainly savour the same tranquil atmosphere where they now live. This urban refuge, along West Coast Road, is a hark back to the good old days.
Once a strip of sandy beaches, kelongs (fishing platforms) and kampongs (villages), the West Coast Road area is now home to Varsity Park Condominium, a 530-unit low-rise development. It began welcoming residents in 2008, when the temporary occupation permit was obtained.
Developer CapitaLand says the development - a "modern-day village" - was born out of the "sweet memories of kite flying, playing marbles under the tree, swimming and fishing in the river"; of a time when growing up in Singapore was more about the outdoors than video games.
A stone's throw away from West Coast Park and Clementi Woods Park, Varsity Park Condominium's name alludes to its proximity to educational institutions. This includes the National University of Singapore, NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, INSEAD, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Singapore Polytechnic. It is also a short drive from the research and technology hubs at one-north and Science Park.
Down to Earth
Tropical plants and a treehouse bring nature to Varsity Park Condominium residents
Space is a rare commodity in Singapore. Yet it is abundant here at Varsity Park Condominium, where high-rises are noticeably absent. Five-storey housing clusters, each with their own landscaped gardens, are scattered in the sprawling 5.2-hectare development, the equivalent of eight football fields.
With this luxury of space, units are generously-sized: two- to four-bedroom units vary from 990 sq ft to 2,357 sq ft in size. A typical three-bedroom apartment is about 1,300 square feet in size, excluding open terraces.
Full-height windows in living rooms and bedroom bay windows provide ample natural light, serving as a visual extension from the interior of the homes to the surrounding lush gardens.
Ground floor residents can enjoy the view of the grounds from their patios and front gardens while those in the fifth-level penthouses can retreat to the privacy of their roof-top terrace, sky garden and attic.
The stepping back of the development's façade provides many units with terraces, reminiscent of kampong houses with their extensive gardens.
Some of the three- and four-bedroom apartments feature a guest suite located next to the apartment's main entrance. The guest suite may be separated from the rest of the apartment by simply adding a door, making the suite perfect for renting out without infringing on the privacy of the rest of the residents. It also serves as a comfortable "granny" suite.
Genteel Surroundings, Resort Living
The water playground is the perfect place to chill out on a hot day
Much attention was given to the design and construction of Varsity Park Condominium. Apartments are built away from the glare of the harsh afternoon sun. Extensive verdant landscape, roof and terraces overhang and planters at all levels were integrated into the development to keep temperatures down.
Air wells at the heart of the residential blocks allow for cross ventilation and ample natural light into the apartments. A green-labelled air-conditioning system is also used.
These and other eco-friendly features helped Varsity Park Condominium win a Green Mark Gold award from Singapore's Building and Construction Authority. The Green Mark is a benchmark for sustainable development in environmental design, construction and the adoption of green building technologies.
Varsity Park Condominium's architects made much effort to interpret and integrate elements from history into a modern lifestyle.
Inspired by the organic development of a village as well as the site's irregular shape, Varsity Park Condominium is laid out as a series of housing clusters with themed living spaces - Water Village, Coastal Fun Park, WoodGrove, and Palm Court. These are scattered around the development and provide residents with interesting spots to explore, discover and interact with.
The Water Village has a 50-metre lap pool, a jacuzzi and a realistic sand-edged beach. Function rooms and quiet reading spaces are built right up to the edge of the water, while a glass-walled gym is suspended above the pool on "stilts", reminding one of a seaside kelong.
The Coastal Fun Park is the condominium's fun and family adventure space. For the young, a sturdy treehouse at the WoodGrove gives free rein to their imagination. There is a delightful water playground with slides, sprinklers, jets, water guns and spray nozzles, making a hot day the perfect excuse to be out and about.
Laid-back lifestyle at Varsity Park Condominium
Over at Palm Court, the lawns are ideal for games or a picnic. A golf putting green, a tai chi platform, and cool shaded walks throughout the estate give residents reasons to stretch their limbs, or simply to reflect and relax.
Varsity Park Condominium has won the hearts of those who now call it home, allowing residents to re-live the carefree days of the past in their very own urban retreat.