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DOLLY FOO PORTFOLIO SELECTED WORKS 2010 - 2012 National University of Singapore

Proposed Masterplan for 2020


As one of the fatest aging societies in Asia, Singapore expects more than 20% of its population to be aged 65 or above in 2030. Under such circumstances, it is imperative to reform our living environment physically and socially in order to accomodate extensive numbers of elderlies so that they can conduct their everyday life comfortably while maintaing connection with others. To re-design urban spaces to foser smart and sustainable livelihods that would improve everybody’s quality of life + design a nursing home catering to Singapore in the next 10- 15 years.


Urban Approach The Kreta Ayer neighborhood is one of the few surviving mature housing estates within the city center. Located within the historic core of the city, it has a complex and intricate fabric that is woven tightly round its morphology. The approach was to study the volatile responses to the site across decades, and the way the physical and social fabric adjusted accordingly, to better project a possible future scenario and demography to operate on. The character of the current estate is much more varied than one presumes. Human traffic across site and connectivity between public spaces is markedly different from other HDB estates. Instead of the typical void deck, the public sphere occurs at an elevated level with bridges serving physical and


efforts to improve circulation and general being of the estates, are redundant gestures glazed across on a superficial level. Planned spaces, such as fitness corner and barbecue stations, implemented after the mandatory estate upgrading project (2009), are starkly underutilised by locals, who prefer to hang out at more informal pockets of space, for as long as there are places to sit around. In coming decades, the mature estate will face gradual shrinking and aging of regional population, as it competes with newer neighboring estates nearby(Duxton). Its historic and complex setup linkages will be one of its main assets. The masterplan acknowledges this quality and deals with two main and contradictory problems of a mature estate: an aging and increasingly homogeneous demography; and increasingly cosmetic and redun-

Another issue would be to prevent the ghettoization of the inner city block, a worrying possibility as current blocks of one-room rental flats have an disproportionally larger number of elderly and those on the lower end of the economic ladder. There have been reports of elderly whose death went unnoticed for days until the stench few attention from neighbours. Also, public sentiments that drug addicts hide-out in the dingy apartments contribute to a negative association with rental apartment. The proposed masterplan therefore, seeks to improve the mix in demography, attracting young working class families by introducing new functions to foster vibrancy and combat population decline. A library is proposed along Neil road to capture the transient workforce population passing through for lunch, and also as a social space for the ‘new’ old - time rich, activity poor while higher educational qualification, setting them apart from the current old. An arts school set a top an existing low rise HDB block to attract a younger population. An educational institution ensures the sustainability of the neighborhood population, while keeping crime rates low. The arts school serves to revive interest in traditional opera and theatre, where the adjacent People’s Theatre still serve as a landmark for industry practitioners . An additive approach was taken to increase density and functions without continual alteration of the already dense historic fabric of the district. A new residential block will cater to the targeted increase in density and population numbers, a mixed-use, integrated development which requires a radical re-conceptualization of a nursing home, on that is assimilated into the current HDB block. It also reexamines the current operations of HDB developments, by returning the community the power to shape their living environment. As such, it is a democratization of architecture, removed from an agency driven by brutalistic efficiency and standardization.

shelter linkways to promote visual connectivity

The ubiquitous cheap red plastic chair is the preferred street furniture for the local community.


Pavilion as social meeting space


Pavilion replaced with fitness corner that is under-utilised.

infill development: arts/theatre school


HDB upgrading works at blk 333


Completed BBQ station that residents seldom use.

How it works: The new block development operates as a plug-in to the existing HDB block, with a setback of 12m between, opening up a communal zone of corridors, stairs and bridges, where previously lacking in the introverted internal corridor in Blk 5. The internal street re-examines the relationship between the interior and exterior spaces, in a typological experiment of finding relieve in high density housing through the adaptation of the organisational arrangement and social network of public spaces of kampungs of yore, where streets have been translated into verticallystacked walkways and common corridors, and garden compounds into staggered private open terraces and courtyards. In a hypothetical set-up, where developer informs current residents of the new development, in which they are entitled to bid for an extension of their current unit, and/or to buy a larger unit in the new development and move out of their current. They could also opt to retrofit a balcony if they want to remain in their current apartment. The scheme targets young and small families to start a multigenerational unit, with the grandparents living next door to their grandchildren, but each with their private space. The strategy therefore directly affects the way units are clustered in the nursing home, and also determines the placement of voids in the block to reduce the mass. As such the design could be seen a wall that filters rather than shields, where outdoor decks and yards formed different permutations of unit types offers daylight, intimacy and views.

How do we manifest the relationship between the living spaces of a dwelling unit and that of its environment. A dwelling cannot be seen in isolation to its own interior space containing insular functions but rather in relation to changes in environmental qualities of time, light and shadow, greenery, views and open spaces that in turn contribute to the overall qualities of the living space. This is especially so in a highrise, high density context where the conditions for relief are very much determined by the provision of voids within the building massing.

In the facade design and ward layout, diversity is key, rejecting the brutalist instincts of high-rise pre-cast concrete construction of HDBs. Balconies are caged, open to sky or sheltered; window grills and ledges in a cacophony of material, styles and size. Together, they form an indiscernible, organic pattern that is overlaid against the backdrop HDB windows, at once softening the imposing mass that one takes in from street level. This project looks towards variation and community involvement as the answer against the dire standardized unit, view and experience of an institution. When variety becomes the new standard for homogeneity, then can we truly recognize the Nursing Home as a Home unit, than an institutional facility.

Communal facilities and elements are interspersed at sky decks, offering unblocked view of the CBD skyline. Supporting facilities for the Nursing Home is brought up to the 11th & 12th floor, where it defines the boundary of the nursing home from level 4-11. Other community functions such as the gym, clinic, cafe and retail shops are located on level 1&2. A kindergarden and community garden also encourage interaction between Nursing home residents and public user by sharing the same space.

SITE PLAN |scale 1 : 500

GROUND FLOOR PLAN |scale 1 : 200

SECOND STOREY PLAN |scale 1 : 200

TYPICAL WARD PLAN |scale 1 : 200




Unlike residential development that provides generous relief spaces in the form of cantilevered balconies and terraces as part of the private spaces of apartment units on a large scale. The floor plan is single loaded served vertically by 3 cores, with occasional bridges and staircases providing circulation and semi private spaces adjoining Blk 5. Each apartment has access to a communal/garden deck between two units. Typically, the entrance of each apartment unit is from this garden space, as opposed to the sterility of the single loaded corridor . Units are organised by clusters in elevation, punctuated with vertical slits for added ventilation and to reduce massing.



TYPICAL WARD PLAN |scale 1 : 200


SHORT SECTION |scale 1 : 200



RAIL IDEAS Never in the history of Singapore has the local community been presented with a piece of land encompassing the unique characteristics of the former KTM railway lands, now called the Rail Corridor. Its return to Singapore generated a lot of public interests even as the last trains depart from Tanjong Pagar station. This land exhibits an exceptional combination of heritage, social, environmental, educational and spatial-physical functions. The studio’s thesis that the railway lands should be kept as a multi-faceted, contiguous space. Our objective is to investigate the role of this space in engendering the emergence of a new social compact between state and citizens. A lost psychological space to be reclaimed by current and future generations of Singaporeans. Development of the former railway was closely linked to early phases of our growth as a modern city-state, establishing a rich heritage that deserves preservation. These accumulated national and social histories coupled with the biodiversity of a contiguous natural corridor that connects key nature reserves of Singapore; providing a tremendous wellspring for experiential learning to foster creative Singaporeans – gene pool of the new social compact. The rapid spatial transformations of our city has resulted in an erasure of some national spaces that once served as building blocks in our early quest for nation-building. Contesting needs of a modern city exacerbated this lost of physical and psychological space. The return of the railway lands offers an opportune moment for recreating such a national space for posterity. On this linear strip of land, a new community spirit could arise.

Right: Model of railway land, Green Corridor Exhibition, URA Centre









writeup of masterplan/ graphics of concept

A contested issue intrinsic to the debate of the post-operative use of the former railway line is the preservation of continuity of the line. A study of the 2008 URA Masterplan reveals with clarity the intention of the authorities with regards to the Rail Corridor - to break the line up into smaller parcels, and subsequently amalgamate them to adjacent plots. “The least challenging and most unimaginative “solution” would be for policy makers, planners and developers to parcel the land out as real estate, dismantle the line, erase the railway and its memory from the public domain and relegate it to textbook history. That would be a costly mistake.” – Dr Geh Min, Past President of The Nature Society of Singapore As such, the task for us is to identify and present an impetus for continuous entity of the Rail Corridor. With this ambition in mind, we thus formulated the Spinal/Specific masterplan concept. As its name suggests, the concept encapsulates two components; Spinal refers to opportunities that embody the continuous usage of the entire line, while Specific refers to those that respond to the various environments along the line.


Impetus for continuous entity?

green corridor?

blue corridor?

spine for personal mobility

as well as leisure




ue to the highly varied and physical and programmatic landscape, opportunities for new programmes exist and should be explored. The introduction of programmes on-site are a response to context and proximity, with the following factors considered: 1. Nature of programme 2. Physicality of site 3. Community 4. Time 5. Infrastructure


s such, we have both the spinal and specific components, and as much as these two are conceptualised as discrete components, the are by no means separate components in their entirety; in reality, these components could and would react to each other, with one affecting the existence of each other, resulting in new and potentially exciting possibilities.

KRANJI ARTIST VILLAGE Located in North-west tip ofSingapore, Kranji is s large industrial estate home to construction yards. This district is also the home of Singapore Turf Club, Kranji War Memrorial, and Kranji Camp. Nearly the northernmost point in Singapore, one can see the Malaysian shoreline from Kranji, making it one of the more strategically important places in SingaporeThe railway was built here in 1903, and was later linked to Malaysia. As such, Kranji became the access point from Singapore to Peninsular Malaysia. This individual project is a development of the studio’s masterplanning for the Rail Corridor. 14 Specific programs and sites that were initially proposed along the railway were re-examined in greater depth.


Underpass built in place of former level crossing to ensure a safe and continuous cycling/ pedestrian lane. DESIGN PROPOSAL The industrial landscape of the far north will be revitalised as an artists’ colony, revisiting the aspirations of the (now defunct) The Artist Village (TAV) of the 1990s. Adaptive reuse of decommissioned WWII military structures (old Nissen Huts) to house a community of new creatives. With their doors open to the wasteland , the group assumes a state of pseudo-anarchy, pursuing new ways and ideologies in making art that is in synch with the societal changes and state of affairs, not unlike Drop City of the ‘60s The backyard culture of the district, however, should not be mistaken for being counterculture. Artists in residence specialising in land art, adapting scrape construction materials from nearby yards into

works that generates its revenue to sustain the community. It is also host a new model of social enterprise, a reinvention of the dying karang guni trade (rag and bone man). Foreign workers from nearby construction yards can earn extra money by salvaging scrape materials and selling them to the artists. They can hone a new skill by helping out at the workshop. The kampung spirit here does not distinguish between class ans status, neither is it exclusive. the open landscape and meandering paths leading to galleries invites vistors to explore the compound. A sunken performance plaza that opens to the corridor is sets the stage for performance artists, breaking down the barrier between art and the public.

2011 road level crossing removed

(L-R): 1st storey plan, 2nd storey plan (1:200); Site plan (1:800); Diagrammatic site plan; Roof plan (1:200)

Top: Section A-A’ (1:200). Showing foyer, office, cafe and communal kitchen Bottom: Section B-B’ (1:200). Showing gallery, bar and meeting room

Above: Long section C-C’ (1:200) showing cafe, bar and kitchen

Sequential Framing of View: Splicing building corners


The focus on this project is on inhabitation: the cultural, social and ocupational practices of foreign construction workers in Singapore. Inhabitation is to be designed, just as any other component of architecture and students are required to take a particularar stand on how inhabitation affects architecture. Programme is to be designed as a response to city activities and existing occupational and inhabitation practices as pre - existing as well as normative programes introduced into site by proposed project.

REDEFINING SPACES A visit into one of the existing dormitory in Little India would reveal the cramped and squalor conditions foreign workers are made to live in. In most dormitory, workers are made to share spaces, they demarcate their individual space using their material possesion as an act to mark their territory. In pre- existing dormitories, corridors that were wide enough for passage have become narrow because of the amount of objects and posessions these workers’ keep and collect. The tightly packed rows of luggages above is best describes the conditions these workers live in.

HXSZ 环秀山庄 (Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty) is a classical Suzhou Garden, famed for its rockery in which a master sculptor carved minature mountains and ridges out of limestone. The 2,180 m2 garden is composed along a linear axis with three main elements: a grotto called Autumn Hill, and Flying Snow Pool, fed by a waterfall called Flying Snow Spring, and a main hall. The rock work is a recreation of the five important mountains of China, and shows a mastery of creating a sense of vast space in a small area. One is to study this site carefully and propose a suitable alteration to this ancient temple. By considering the formal and informal compositions in the compound, the alteration should maintain the integrity of the UNESCO heritage site. Analytical and poetic reading of and within the rock, surmises the complex and everchanging spatial sequencing that one experience within the labyrinth.

The mobile bridge serves as an illusionary passage to higher point within the gorge in the rockery, but the user will never end up at the expected destination as the bridge tips over as one walks along it. The labyrinthian composition of the artificial mountain one is immediately thrown off course and forced to confront with the and river elements set amongst formal pavillions, is non-linearity of nature and question the possible pluralism in our designed to deceive. Inprocess of questioning the rerelationship with our environment. After the initial shock and amuselationship between architecture, landscape and man. ment, one has to answer the riddle of time and space with the new the physical solution of a moving bridge was sought to constructed path within the landscape - one that is not yet built but resolve the apparent visual continuity (illusion) in the to be crafted individually as one is thrown off the constructed one. At landscape of HXSZ and our desensitized relationship the end of the day, one becomes more aware and in control of one’s with our environment - built,natural or fake. spatial experience, but all the more confused and enlightened at once.

INTERVENTION Honesty in a fallacy within the gorge




KLNG-26 Pulau Ubin is a small island situated in the north east of SInngapore. It is on of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore. A Kelong, is a malay word to describe an offshore platform or house, built on wooden stilts (bakau piles). Such building types found in the waters of Malaysia, PHilippines, Indonesia and only a handful in Singapore. The task is to design a home on the water for four people Considerations should be made to construction in the water and access points should also be demarcated clearly.

003_RIBA compilation  

003_Nursing home, Rail Studio, Workers Dormitory, Poet's House Year 3, 2011-2012 BA (Arch) National University of Singapore Course ins...

003_RIBA compilation  

003_Nursing home, Rail Studio, Workers Dormitory, Poet's House Year 3, 2011-2012 BA (Arch) National University of Singapore Course ins...