Runway for Your Imagination


Sponsor/organizer: Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA)
Type: open, ideas (two categories)
Language: English
Fees: None
27 March 2020 – Submission deadline
Open category

Tertiary (student) category

Design Challenge:
The site was Singapore’s second international airport from 1955 to 1981 and is currently used as a military airbase. The place holds many rich memories as a nation, being the birthplace of Singapore’s national carrier, Singapore Airlines, in 1971. It also hosted the historic supersonic Concorde between 1977 to 1980 when it was jointly operated by Singapore Airlines and British Airways. Many of the former airport buildings such as the passenger terminal buildings, control tower and aircraft hangars remain today, but have been re-purposed for other uses. The most distinctive feature of the airbase is the 3.8 km long runway. With the relocation of Paya Lebar Airbase from the 2030s onwards, the airbase and its surrounding industrial areas can progressively be transformed into a highly liveable and sustainable new town, built on its unique heritage as a former airport and airbase.

The possibilities are immense, and we would like to hear how you envision this place to be in future, including ideas on how some of the former airport buildings and parts of the runway can be repurposed to celebrate the area’s rich aviation heritage. A selection of the ideas received will be exhibited for public viewing, and useful ideas and concepts from the competition will be distilled into design principles and used for the development of a planning brief for the future master planning of the area.


  1. Topic 1: “Concept Master Plan”

Participants are to come up with a broad concept master plan and ideas for the redevelopment of the airbase and the surrounding industrial area. As an indicative guide, the study area is comparable to Tampines estate which has about 300,000 residents. The concept master plan should illustrate the vision of what the community of the future can be like in the next 20 – 30 years, with residents living in a highly liveable and sustainable town. The plan should include ideas for exciting new ways to live, work, play, learn and move. It should also include ideas on how the future Paya Lebar Town can develop its own distinct identity and unique sense of place anchored on its rich heritage and history.

  1. Topic 2: “Transforming the Runway”

The runway is a distinctive feature in the landscape, at about 75m wide and 3.8km long, and orientated along Singapore’s prevailing North-East and South-West wind directions. In order to commemorate the aviation heritage of the future new town, parts of the runway can be retained and transformed into a new public space for everyone to enjoy.

Participants are to develop concept proposals for the use of significant stretches of the runway as a multi-functional community space for people of all ages and abilities. The ideas should illustrate the programming of activities along the runway and how these relate to possible developments next to the runway. Design strategies to transform the re-purposed space into a significant landmark while retaining the memory of it as a former runway that served the airport should be included.

  1. Topic 3: “Rejuvenating Paya Lebar Airport”

Participants are to develop concept proposals for the cluster of former airport buildings comprising the terminal building, control tower offices and hangers. These buildings are distinguished by their distinctive identity and architecture related to their former airport functions. Participants can propose a precinct master plan and design strategies for the re-purposing of the former airport buildings and structures to give them a new lease of life. Proposals can include the injection of new buildings and public spaces that integrate with the retained buildings to create a unique precinct identity within the future town.

Competition website: