Monthly Archives: May 2012

In and out of the grid

Time, spaces, people, and the grid. What’s it like to live in the Singapore grid of public housing blocks, shopping malls, and tiled surfaces? Can some kind of liberation be found in what can be a rather dehumanising environment?

I enjoyed the opportunity to contemplate artist/writer/curator Heman Chong‘s exhibition Calendars (2020–2096) with reference to Superstudio’s science fiction-style photomontages of the 1960s and ’70s. I did so for d+a magazine’s 67th issue.

Held at the NUS Museum from late 2011 to early 2012, Calendars (2020–2096) was a menacingly expansive meditation on Singapore’s overwhelming homogenising ‘grid’, its ‘public’ spaces, and the roles that people play in them through time. Chong presented 1,001 photographs of de-peopled ‘public’ spaces in Singapore as future calendar pages – an eery collection that he referred to as a “dream machine” in the show’s catalogue.

If you missed the show, it’s well worth taking a look at the catalogue – as well as d+a of course!

Also for d+a 67, I investigated dreams of other persuasions – a radically remodelled home by Genome Design Consultancy in a fantastical, other-worldly Singaporean estate of repetitive pseudo-classical terrace houses; and an artful redeveloped shophouse by HYLA Architects that forms part of a developer’s larger vision of a collection of boutique properties on a single Geylang street. The HYLA project won a URA Architectural Heritage Award in 2011. Read all about both projects in d+a.

I’ve also had a number of articles appear in Cubes 55, addressing an array of contexts and conditions. Firstly, there’s an extended look at the colourful architecture of Sauerbruch Hutton via their new book Sauerbruch Hutton: Colour in Architecture, which I had also investigated for

Secondly, I had the chance to immerse myself in the mesmerising pattern-scapes of the Grand Hyatt’s newest events space, The Gallery. Super Potato continued their work at the hotel with this seductive space that presents new options for guests in terms of how they interact with and direct their experience of the venue.

I took a walk across the water to write about Aedas Singapore‘s Sentosa Boardwalk – a morphing surface of composite timber that provides a direct pedestrian link between Vivo City and Sentosa.

Finally, I contemplated a rare instance of pro bono architectural work with Spark‘s design for Fai-Fah Prachautis – a centre of creative education for disadvantaged youths in Bangkok. Read an abridged version of the article on