Archive for October, 2011

Wetlands snowshoe

Monday, October 31st, 2011

PANG SUA2

One of the celebrated public events in Singapore has been the removal of the old KTM railway line that used to cross Singapore from the north to the Keppel station in the south. It was technically a ribbon of foreign territory that snaked its way across the island, creating a linear zone in which no typically Singaporean modernizations could take place. At the same time, it became an interesting frontier of freedom. The corridor was host to small-scale agriculture, ramble routes, wild boar and monkeys–and was even home to its own minor god in the Hindu pantheon.

Lekker was invited, alongside FARM, Ministry of Design and other old friends and colleagues, to re-imagine one stretch of the line, near the mangrove wetlands of Sungei Buloh. We proposed the placement of a broad frame–a kind of snowshoe, in structural terms. The latter is a net of members that would provide the platform for the construction of a new wetlands zone. Within this, several interpretive areas (including an observation tower, shown above) would create a teaching ecosystem for the island’s north.

SAS competition 2011

Monday, October 31st, 2011

halfmoon29 FIN

halfmoon GREENHOUSE

Above are images of our entry to a competition to redesign a campus building at Singapore American School. We worked as design consultants; the architects were Ong Ker Shing Architecture. The existing semi-cylindrical classroom block was covered in rather clumsy 1970s-style brise-soleil (which was actually built in the mid-1990s). Our scheme added an additional level of rooms, while cloaking the entire composition in a system of timber louvers. The latter were adjusted to incorporate an optical effect, a sort of clouded pattern akin to the “flowers” of ink dropped into water.

SAF here and gone

Monday, October 31st, 2011

SAF elevations skyline2

Just a quick follow-up on the interesting and somewhat spectral phenomenon that was the Singapore Arts Festival Village 2011. As mentioned below, the project was a dream-like tent city that was built in Esplanade Park to house the various programs and performances of the Festival. It was designed as a meandering skin of the informal scaffolding seen in many of Singapore’s more humble construction sites. Posts of bitangor timber were lashed to cover a “village” of irregular forms–memory figures, in fact–which were then canvased internally and lit. A large floor of old timber battens was placed above the grass, and a strange kind of urbanism presented itself for a month: too formal to be an event tentage, and yet not finished to the standard that Singapore expects of its public spaces. A kind of shanty for the arts. You can see the overall elevation above, and some images from the built result below.

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The SAF Village provoked some interesting reactions, in particular from a number of Singaporean artists who felt that its appearance and semi-formalized aspect had a kind of surreal effect. Of course, we were happy to hear this. The Village was also described in the September issue of Monocle Magazine.