Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, said that the precinct design is finalized before the launch of Build-to-Order (BTO) projects by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), allowing prospective buyers to refer to the launch brochures for a general understanding of each development’s design.
This was in response to Miss Cheng Li Hui, People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, who raised the issue of HDB consultations with BTO flat purchasers during construction to better balance residents’ preferences and creativity in design aspects.
Ms Cheng’s question comes after a viral video of red tiles on the walls and floors, as well as red paint and lighting of Block 640B on Tampines Street 62 at the Tampines GreenVines project, sparked an uproar of criticism from netizens.
The video went viral, with many people criticizing the red-themed design and using the hashtag “unacceptable.”
Some TikTokers compared the red-themed design to a red-light district, while others expressed concern that residents might feel scared entering the compound at night.
According to online information, the project opened for application in 2018 and has a total of 11 blocks and 1,271 units. Each block in the estate is divided into different colours, namely yellow, blue, and red.
Explaining the process by which HDB collaborates with architectural consultants and reviews design proposals for BTO flats, Mr Lee acknowledged concerns about the design process for HDB BTO flats following public feedback on the red lift lobbies at Tampines GreenVines.
Mr Lee noted in his reply that architects were given the flexibility to incorporate new approaches and distinctive elements, such as bright accent colours inspired by local fruits.
However, due to mixed views on the chosen colours and feedback that the red was too strong, Mr Lee said, “steps were taken to repaint the walls and ceilings of the blocks to white to tone it down.”
The minister emphasized the importance of balancing innovation with public receptivity and building upon the experience gained from residents’ feedback in various BTO developments.
He mentioned that “HDB proactively seeks feedback from Singaporeans through surveys and engagements, such as Post-Occupancy Surveys conducted for all newly completed BTO developments one to two years after residents have settled in.”
Furthermore, Mr Lee highlighted that “HDB conducts regular dialogues with Town Councils to gather additional feedback.”
Such feedback from residents and Town Councils is instrumental in informing the design of new developments and upgrading initiatives across all estates.
The HDB aims to continually refine its approach to design in response to the evolving needs and aspirations of Singaporeans, as underscored by Mr Desmond Lee.
In the case of the Tampines BTO project, launch brochures did not contain details about the colour theme, and the built-to-scale model at the HDB hub also did not seem to show the extent of the colour scheme at the lift lobbies.