From the depth of the earth to the rarified air of the sky
• Housing an island into the future
• The silent battle to do more with less space
On the surface, Singapore seems to have it all. However, looming in the horizon is the silent battle to do more with a limited piece of land, whether it's in regards to growing the economy – more factories, offices, power stations – or housing an increasing population – from the current 5.5 million to 6.9 million by 2030 and beyond.
Our proposal seeks to demonstrate the role of the Architect and our Thinking as an increasingly important resource, in not only designing beautiful buildings, but also more urgently in using our gift of envisioning to influence the various decisions and policies that affect the quality of our built environment and our lives.
Honed through twenty years of practicing in a highly regulated and land-scarce environment, our works very often must make poetry out of hard realities. Making basements livable, making gardens in the sky, ameliorating high density through the use of greenery, and borrowing air space – all are examples of our attempts to overcome the limit of space. The results are noteworthy for their potential, especially when aggregated over a much large scale.
In our master planning of a public housing estate, our experience working with various government agencies (those in charge of various infrastructures, such as roads, drainage, parks, and estate management) convinced us that the Architect must maintain the lead role in negotiating and balancing the various agencies' agendas with a single, cohesive view – to create an environment that is far better than what is normal or standard.
Through our built works, we will demonstrate how the projects collectively point towards a scenario where even more aspirational ideas are possible. In a recent international competition – The Singapore Rail Corridor – our winning proposal addresses not just housing; it also changes the way we look at infrastructure development, parks plus landscaping, and building communities skywards into the future. The element of time is expressed in the growing of a 50 metre wide forest through the housing community. The growth of the forest is a tangible timekeeper of this new community's growth, with the aim of instilling rootedness in the residents. The design thinking and solution proposed extends even further to address national issues of a greying population, future-proofing our built environments, and tapping into building technologies that can alleviate the Singapore's shortage of manpower, while simultaneously meeting the ever ambitious aspirations of its people.
The presentation, through the medium of film, will be experiential, giving viewers a sense of the challenges and aspirations that a place like Singapore faces in regards to housing and how the Architect can be an activist in rising to the occasion.
Whether the progressive existence of a city-state like Singapore will be limited by its physical space in time to come, is not merely a subject of study; to an Architect in Singapore, it is a constant battle that has no end.
The difference between limit and limitless could lie in the creative minds of the Architect.