Search Articles

in

Recommended For You

A new buzz runs through the riverside
A new buzz runs through the riverside

The Straits Times -
24 Oct 2014

Tanjong Rhu, still picturesque but sleepy no more with Sports Hub


More seniors servicing private mortgages
More seniors servicing private mortgages

The Straits Times -
23 Oct 2014

Figure triples over 6 years to 15,500, but group still forms a mino...


Cut in supply of BTO flats will ward off glut
Cut in supply of BTO flats will ward off glut

The Straits Times -
22 Oct 2014

PROSPECTIVE buyers of new Housing Board flats may be alarmed by the...



Latest HDB Ads

542 Bedok North Street 3
3-Room HDB 542 Bedok North Street 3, For Sale

- 3NG (Modified), 82
sqm, 3 room, corner -
High


745 Woodlands Circle
4-Room HDB 745 Woodlands Circle, For Sale

High Floor, Next to
Corner! Renovated! Lar
ge Siz


115 Bishan Street 12
3-Room HDB 115 Bishan Street 12, For Rent

115 Bishan 2+1, Fully
Furnished With Air-Con.
Nice



Featured Videos

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive the hottest news & property trends, updates on popular properties and promotions from STProperty & our partners

HDB

The vanishing void deck

Shared pavilions taking its place

The Straits Times - February 8, 2012
By: Tay Suan Chiang

| More
The vanishing void deckPrecinct pavillions and smaller void decks (above) have replaced spacious HDB void decks. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

SOME Woodlands residents were in a flap last week over plans to convert their void deck into a day-care centre for elderly folk.

Among other reasons, they said they would be deprived of a place to gather and hold weddings and wakes.

But the spacious void deck - a feature synonymous with public housing here - has actually disappeared in new estates such as Punggol and Sengkang.

New housing blocks in older housing estates such as Kallang, Buona Vista and Ang Mo Kio also no longer have these large common spaces.

Instead, these newly built blocks have lift lobbies and spaces too small to hold functions.

As an alternative, HDB has built 'precinct pavilions', a common space shared by several blocks, which residents can use to hold gatherings and events.

In some estates, gardens on the rooftops of multi-storey carparks also serve as gathering spots.

Even the space at newer blocks which still come with fairly large void decks is increasingly taken up by facilities such as childcare centres, social service centres and rehabilitation day-care centres for the elderly.

There are about 640 such void-deck facilities run by more than 230 voluntary welfare organisations and non-profit groups, according to the HDB.

Because of the presence of these facilities, 'there is a perception that the void deck has shrunk', said Mr Ashvinkumar Kantilai, president of the Singapore Institute of Architects.

Void decks were created in 1970 on the ground level of HDB blocks to provide space for residents to interact informally or hold activities.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an HDB spokesman said yesterday that there are usually more void deck spaces for blocks in older estates because of the slab or rectangular block configuration there.

But newer housing blocks tend to have a tower block configuration. This means they do not have long corridors on each floor, and hence, there is less space on the ground level.

As an alternative space, the HDB has built precinct pavilions - usually around 200 sq m, or slightly smaller than the size of two five-room flats - shared by several nearby residential blocks. Low walls, which mark the periphery of a pavilion, double as seats.

But some feel that the single space, which has to be shared by residents from a few blocks, is not enough.

Kallang resident Garry Chern, 36, said: 'When there are two or more events happening in a day, that pavilion is heavily used, and sometimes, one party has to pack up quickly to make way for the other.'

He once saw an undertaker clearing the pavilion after a funeral in the morning, and another funeral being set up that same afternoon.

Having grown up enjoying large void decks, some residents bemoan the loss.

As a child, housewife Michelle Lee, 32, used to ride her tricycle in the public space at the foot of her block. Today, her toddler son cannot do the same at their Punggol block as 'there is no space'.

There is a pavilion near their home but it is a distance away, said Mrs Lee.

Dover resident Yeo Kai Leng, 37, used to live in a 30-year-old block with a large void deck. Her current block in the same estate has no such feature.

In the past, she would often bump into neighbours at the void deck of her old block, but no longer sees them now.

'I think they've stopped meeting for a chit-chat since there is no place for them to sit now,' she said.

MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Hri Kumar Nair said that the smaller common space meant there is limited space to provide for permanent services, such as day-care centres. 'Only some blocks would be eligible for such services,' he said.

Yet for others, the void deck holds no special feelings.

Human resource consultant John Lee, 45, said: 'I don't use the void deck as, at the end of the day, I just want to get back to my flat. I'd rather have more lifts than empty void deck space.'

| More

Location 'elevates Mount Sophia's cachet'

Location 'elevates Mount Sophia's cachet'

The Straits Times - 18 Oct 2014

Area's character continues to evolve, with art schools adding zest


Carats to perk up a lacklustre market?

Carats to perk up a lacklustre market?

The Straits Times - 21 Oct 2014

Developers offering 'novel' incentives to tempt hesitant buyers, investors


Malaysians widen lead over Chinese as top private home buyers

Malaysians widen lead over Chinese as top private home buyers

The Business Times - 23 Oct 2014

They account for about 29% of Q3 purchases made by PRs and foreigners, against the latter's 26%

View articles from these categories

X

More flats expected for second-timers

The Straits Times - January 20, 2012

By: Daryl Chin