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paperspace 纸空间 N° 2: the NEW|OLD issue

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___________ Editorial Team Jax Tan Patricia Chia Sandra Lee Wynne Chen Ang Jia Cong Epiphanie Barli Lie Tan Qian Rou ___________ Issue N째 2//January-February the NEW-OLD issue for a new year ahead ___________ Paperspace PS. is a bi-monthly publication by The Architecture Society. http://paperspace.wordpress.com http://withintheaquarium.tumblr.com Printed by Xorex Press Pte Ltd ___________ The Architecture Society National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment 4 Architecture Drive, Singapore 117566 Website: www.tas.org.sg |2


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___________ PROLOGUE. by jax tan ___________ PROJECTIONS: HIGH-RISE FOR 6 MILLION by sandra lee ___________ LOCATING THE PRESENT. by patricia chia ___________ NEW AWARENESS. by ang jia cong ___________ TAXIDERMY OR THE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT OF FALSE REPRESENTATION IN THE PURSUIT OF NATURAL HISTORY. by tan qian rou ___________ SUNA NO ONNA 1964. by epiphanie barli lie ___________ NEVER SEEN. by wynne chen ___________ SOUND. by jax tan

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PROLOGUE

by jax tan

为什么他们用已生锈的铁做signboard? 这样算美吗?

Why do they use the rusted metal for the signboard, nice meh?

Ma,你不懂的啦! 那个是COR-TEN STEEL,是现在很流 行的呢!

Ma, you can’t appreciate is it? This one is COR-TEN Steel, recycled metal. It’s used internationally and is quite trendy.

Huh。。。 用这种旧的铁在新的park不就一下子又 坏了吗, 哪里还会美? 你们designers就是这样。。。 好像design给自己lor。总是design一些 大众不能欣赏的东西。

Huh… Use old metal in the new park, somemore put on the ground. Won’t it rust even more and break down? Why you designers always design things people cannot appreciate?PS.

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PROJECTIONS ..... by sandra lee

For this issue on things old and new, I thought it was timely to look back on past projects that challenged the mold of high rise living in Singapore. In the years to come, can Singapore really accommodate a population of 6 million without sacrificing our quality of life? Part of that answer lies in how high rise housing is able to evolve to meet the needs of an expanding and increasingly affluent population with greater expectations of their living environment. The two featured projects, built before the turn of this century, are bold projections of what high rise living can be. With greater emphasis on a work/life balance and the government’s plans to reintegrate businesses into residential districts, there has been a shift towards mixed use developments that bring together work, life and play in the same location. A predecessor to current projects of this kind is Golden Mile Complex, completed in 1973, housing a shopping mall below, and offices and apartments above. The distinctive staggered form of the development translates into dramatic spaces in the interior. Besides looking at trends in new developments, the other project featured takes a stab at the age old problem of introducing a sense of community in high rise living. Oft criticised as being an inhumane living environment because of its tendency to isolate occupants, high rise living has long faced difficulties in encouraging communal bonding between residents. Bedok Court Condominium, completed in 1985, offers a possible model through the provision of generous circulation and relief spaces that allow for casual encounters between residents. The circulation corridor is pulled away from the unit such that the entrance into the home is mediated by a veranda space. This layout allows the homeowner to open the windows to views beyond the common corridor, as it minimises intrusion into the living space from prying eyes. The two projects exemplify divergent visions of high rise living, and hopefully will inspire even bolder explorations from future generations. PS. |6


Golden Mile Complex

The staggered apartments of the mixed use development. |7


Entering the common space above the shopping mall, one is struck by the dramatic quality of space. |8


The tall columns and strong diagonal elements pull the eye upwards.

A diagonal void runs through the building exiting at the top allowing light into the space. |9


Spacious courts for recreation, partially sheltered by the apartments above, provide an excellent view of the city. | 10


Bedok Court Condominium

Bedok Court Condominium is easily distinguishable from its neighbours by its collection of balconies. | 11


Over the years, individual home owners have reconfigured their balcony space resulting in a mish mash of styles. | 12


The development is a mix of medium and high rise blocks designed with ample relief spaces.

View from HDB block nearby.

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Long circulation corridors wrap the front, separating into private verandahs before one enters the apartment. | 14


Each unit has its own double volume garden space. These spaces are well used allowing greenery to flourish. | 15


The units are organised into clusters separated by voids that allow greater privacy and better ventilation. | 16


Small paths criss-crossing the estate are delightful to explore and provide routes for residents to access private facilities. | 17


LOCATING THE PRESENT ..... by patricia chia

I have been (willingly) displaced 10 293.35 kilometres North-West from home. Outside, it is pitch black – the sun set at 4.57pm today. The leaves have turned a hue of yellow-red – the natives tell me this is Herbst, (Autumn). Five minutes away is a gorgeous river – the map says it’s the Limmat. Everyone walking along the streets is fully-covered in thick layers of clothing – it’s 4oC outside. Where am I?

..... (The terms old and new only make sense when used in conjunction with a reference point. Chronologically, they indicate the existence of a before and an after. Old connotes datedness, something no longer fashionable or stylish. New points toward the future, a situation better than the past.) I know that this is a new experience, my most recent. Yet, occasionally it feels more like living in the past, or the future; a moment in time, displaced. Here are several fragments which document my attempts at locating the present. TOOLS My friends use a wooden, two metre-long foldable ruler to measure construction material. Every twenty centimetres is a brass hinge that enables it to fold out or collapse as the user pleases. It is rigid and thick. I use a three metre-long self-retracting measuring tape I brought from home to measure construction material. It rolls back into itself with the press of a button. It is small and compact.

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Amidst thirty Swiss users of the former tool, I laugh quietly to myself as I watch them take a good five seconds to unfold all two metres of each of their old-fashioned1 rulers. But as our project progresses, this chronological reference seems to crumble. My metallic ribbon is useless in making angled measurements and markings. Its flimsy and concave profile also reduces its precision – of paramount importance for our 1:1 construction, and one time even cut me as it gleefully retracted into its compact body. Three weeks into school, I walk into the stationery store and buy a foldable wooden ruler for myself. I learn that the less recent isn’t always the more primitive. The old isn’t always the more dated. PEDAGOGY / METHODS “Please avoid digital renderings from 3d [modelling programs]”, our assistant writes to us in an email. “We will use large-scale models to focus on character, light, construction and materials”, the brief says. Pinned up on the crit boards are black and white, clean line drawings and photographs of the interiors of huge models. No “v-ray” renderings, no “photo-shopped” sections. On the table are models done in wax, silicon, plaster, concrete and cardboard. The disciplined drawings communicate with impeccable clarity. The models show a three-dimensional understanding of space and light I could never see in a computer model rendering. I am brought back to a time in my second year when designing by making models and hand-drawn line drawings were the norm. While observing the objects and drawings in studio bring back a sense of nostalgia for the second year, they also uncover the loss of an architectural quality that once existed. ........................................

“The spring tape measure has existed since … 1868, but did not come into wide usage until the early 1900s, when it slowly began to supplant a common folding wooden design of carpenter’s ruler.”

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When and why did thought through craft become passé? Why was there a collective eagerness to jump onto the digital bandwagon? Could we not be more critical of our choice of design mediums and modes of representation? STUDIO STRUCTURE There are 34 people in my studio, a mixture of third to fifth year students. The studio advisor is a practicing architect, supposedly one with clout. He has three assistants- all practicing architectshelping him, each mentoring a third of the studio. There is no such thing as a “studio rep” -- the assistants do most of the administrative work. Studio is conducted every Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 6pm and projects are usually done in pairs. The largeness and variety of the studio makes it difficult to compare my work with that of others. Where in Singapore, it’s often easy to point to work and say “that’s so year 3” or “that’s so year 1”, amongst my studio mates I cannot do the same. The hybridity and variety that exists in the approaches is stimulating. While in Singapore we have vertical studios, the large majority consist of level-specific studios. Could we benefit from less stratification between levels of the student population? t On a site visit to an industrial building complex, we climb to the rooftop to observe its vaulted structure. All around us is this incredible view of the city. In the distance is the Prime Tower, a 36 storey glass building that is the tallest (yes, the tallest) skyscraper in the country. It is surrounded by a generous scattering of four to five storey houses, with the alps and endless mountains like a painting in the backdrop. “Zurich has no skyline.” my Swiss friend tells me. “But why do you need one? To me, the landscape here is what identifies Switzerland, and you have so much land.” “Recently there have been issues with urban sprawl. Everyone here

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is talking about density now. They plan to build six more highrise towers in that area and are experimenting with higher density housing.” “Six more of those? Wow. I’m excited, but also scared for you guys.” “Yes, me too.” The conversation disorientates me. To them, the transition to highrise urbanism is extremely recent, but for us, this happened a good forty years ago. To me, though this discussion of high-density living seems old, it makes me wonder, could Singapore be considered the more advanced city? Even if the rapid tabula-rasa development of our nation occurred at the expense of aesthetic vision? While this on-going to and fro of Singapore-Zurich comparisons can be tiring, they uncover for me a slew of questions about the world I’ve always known as my present state. At the same time I realise that points of reference do not always exist, and that is when I should let go and take things for what they are rather than being concerned with their place in time – not everything in the present can be located. PS.

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TILT / SHIFT ..... by ang jia cong

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Moments between noon and lunch

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St. James’s Park, London Moments during an afternoon walk

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Fountain at Jardin des Tuileries, Paris Moments in between naps

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TAXIDERMY OR

THE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT OF FALSE REPRESENTATION IN THE PURSUIT OF NATURAL HISTORY

..... by tan qian rou

The earliest memory I can recall is this: waking up in a cocoon of blue-green plaid, swaying softly. I squirm. The cradle swings, just slightly. The movement pleases me, and I go back to sleep.

..... As time goes on, these events occur: learning to stand, taking my first step, tumbling in the backyard. Walking down the block, taking the bus, taking the train, boarding a plane. Exploration. What happened was this: as I slowly plotted a map with my feet, the houses I out-lived triangulating a patch of the East where all my paths start and end, this city became my crib. As my strides and shadow lengthened, the city wrapped me up in soft plaid. I learnt how to turn just so, how to rock myself to sleep in this: a humid, treegreen, ocean-blue island, swaying softly amongst motionless waves. Your crib might have been slightly raised off the floor, or tucked in a corner—made out of wood, or perhaps plastic in a shade of pink not found in nature. Your cradle might be the same as mine: this city. This city, scalding and bright, or this city, rain-scented and damp. This city and its playgrounds, this city with its old men and their songbirds at dusk. Do you hear seagulls in your mind, when you think of this city? I cannot be sure.

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This I do know, and perhaps we all do: deep within us are places. Places that have worn grooves in the soles of our feet. Places that define us, shape us, are us. And in some way‌ We are what make up these places. Perhaps, without having to convince ourselves we believe that these places are so intricately woven with our being that they don’t exist without us. Just space, devoid of all life and color with the extraction of our physical beings. As though streets are there so that you may walk them, coffee shops blank and empty without you eased in a corner. A home is a house. A room a box. For the past five months I carried my cradle, carefully bell-jarred in my heart. Every new encounter in the new city I lived in was squinted at, examined, then carefully compared against this specimen. But this is not about the specimen, nor the cradle, or even the new reliquary I acquired. It is about the bell jar.

..... I stepped out of the airport shortly after midnight on Christmas Eve, into a cab that would take me home. There was no rush of emotion, no dramatic tears at the sight of tree-lined highways. Just a quiet sigh as I settled back into my cradle. For the first time in months, I slept like a baby. Day followed, then days. I was in no hurry. I took my time to dust off my cradle and settle back into the gentle sway of the island. I could not. The bell jar, my memory, had preserved my heart-home in a perfect, pristine state. Suspended: unaffected by time or space. But the real world does not follow the same rules as the miniature in the bell jar.

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They’ve completely re-gutted the mall. My favourite food stall has gone missing. What happened to the supermarket? Where is the ice cream parlour? A new café, in place of something that existed on the periphery of my memory. The first time I bite into my usual Sunday breakfast I nearly choke, courtesy of the new management. At least they’ve finally installed a fan on the train station platform. None of us, I think, are so proud that we think the world stands still when we are not looking. But age does not exist inside the confines of the glass; time, for a diorama, is the result of human interference. Yet for all this understanding, nothing could ever prepare you for the moment when the bell jar breaks. Time defies itself, leaving you frozen and confused as five months pass in a heartbeat. The specimen you’ve placed such unconditional, scientific faith in is tainted, inaccurate, useless. How long does it take for light to reach the human retina? That is the amount of time you have to prepare yourself before the displacement sets in.PS.

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Woman on the Dunes, a film by Hiroshi Teshigahara

SUNA NO ONNA c. 1964 by epiphanie barli lie

A teacher-entomologist visited a poor seaside village to search for a new insect specimen that lives in the sand. He missed the last bus and had to stay in the village for the night. He was brought to a house owned by a local woman, and located inside a sand quarry. The house is only accessible by a rope ladder. However, the next morning he discovered that the rope ladder removed. His attempt to escape was futile and it finally realised that he had been trapped inside to help the woman dig the sand in the quarry. For her and the village it was a matter of survival—she had to do this so that her house would not be buried by the sand and the village needed the money earned from the sale of the sand. After many desperate attempts to escape, the man eventually resigned to his fate and stayed on. Much later, he chose not to escape even when he had the opportunity.

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Avant garde art: The defamiliarisation of perception to reveal something new, meanwhile taking away from a habitualised preconception.

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Each series of screenshots are taken consecutively and minutely. What I wanted to show was how they weren’t merely close-up shots, but each shot is zoomed in so much that it is almost abstracting the body parts. For instance in the second series of the screenshots which focuses on the mylohyoid region (the area below chin), the camera extricates the rest of the head from the view frame. The audiences see it not so much as mylohyoid, or chin, or stubble, or throat anymore. It becomes just an undulating surface that subtly moves as time passes.

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In another series of screenshot, as the character lifted her head, the surface which is her skin unfolds to reveal grains of sand that were previously hidden. It surprises me how Teshigahara’s abstraction aptly captures what the characters are expressing, through the micro-motions of his camera lens. Also, one begins to relate easily the undulating surface of the skin--a condition produced by the action of extensive zooming in-with the surface of the dune landscape PS. (seen in the very first series of shots).isthi

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NEVER SEEN ..... by wynne chen

Memory is a shaky thing, a castle of sand built too close to the shore. We like to think that when all our mundane yesterdays have crumbled, the memories we hold close will persist. It isn’t true. We rebuild our most loved memories as they crumble. We remember remembering. .....

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It was raining when we reached Ronchamp. It was only a light rain, dusting over the grounds. The sky was perfectly opaque, and the clouds were woolly and grey. We walked bareheaded towards the chapel. We climbed the hill in silence--we had nothing to say to each other, and the weather had chased all the other tourists away. There was only the rain, the susurrus of wind through the trees, and our muted footsteps on the tarmac path. The Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut rose into view with a strange kind of grace. It is difficult to describe the sensation of seeing, for the first time, a building you have only seen in books. The pictures do not prepare you for it. They do not prepare you for the reconciliation of sight and memory. It is nothing like déjà vu, where you know with certainty (but no proof) that you have seen this scene before. It is the very opposite of déjà vu: jamais vu, never seen, the act of seeing for the first time something you have seen before. Time passed as we stood on the soft, young grass at the crest of the hill and looked up at that famous roof. It curved over us, benevolently. Low over the roof, the clouds were hanging, lightening to a thick white. I pressed a hand to the cool, weathered concrete and turned to look at the mountains in the distance. Trees ringed the base of the hill. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind, and it felt like we were alone on the surface of the planet. I heard my name being called, and I turned. M was walking across the yard towards me. “Do you want to go in now? I think the guys have gone in.” I shifted my camera to my other hand. “Sure, let’s go.” We turned past the pulpit and around the curve of the building, to enter by the great wooden doors. M pushed one door open, and I took off my hat as we entered. Inside, I felt, oddly, like I was in a gigantic seashell. I could feel the slope of the roof almost without looking at it. It was dark inside the chapel, lit only where light filtered in through the scattered windows, and by candlelight. | 37


I ran my hands over everything. That echo of the building I had studied was here. But to feel the rasp of concrete against my skin, or the lined wood of the old benches—I was following a shadow of my own thoughts around the chapel. (I would touch the postcard I bought later, thoughtfully. The memory of concrete, the smooth, laminated postcard. The sensation was on the tip of my tongue, an emotion I would simply be unable to explain to anyone who asked.) I am no religious person, I admit. There is no particular reason for it. Years of Anglican schooling left no impression in my childhood, beyond a faint memory of voices lifted in praise. I could still sing hymns, but they held no real meaning for me. In this place, though, I felt a quiet joy. I do not know. But inside this dim and beautiful church, I sat in a pew and looked up at an icon of the Mother Mary, set against a window. Was it reverence? Outside, a single bird was calling, and out of the window behind the icon, I could see the branches of a tree waving in the wind. In front of me, J the lapsed Catholic had his head bowed in prayer. To the side, M was looking contemplatively out of a window. The light cast itself gently across our shoulders and the planes of our faces. What is a church? What makes a church? In this place you could think of nothing but a tree, and that thought would be elevated into a form of gratefulness akin to worship. It stopped raining. After a bout of silence so deep that I was sure it had come from the bottom of the ocean, we left Ronchamp together. .....

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The idea I keep, half-buried in the sand, is this: how far can memory carry us? I hold the memory of this journey close; I turn it over in the quiet, I hold it against my ear and listen. With every touch I depart further and further from history. I remember remembering. I give you my pilgrimage, the tone more accurate than the facts, but the end result is the same: even for me, it is a thing of myth.PS.

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SPONSORS ___________ Platinum Sponsors ONG&ONG DP Architects Pte Ltd Hunter Douglas K2LD Architects RichardHO Architects Singapore Institute of Architects ___________ Gold Sponsors Basheer Forum Architects National University of Singapore Tang Guan Bee Architects W Architects XTRA Designs Pte Ltd ___________ Silver Sponsors Bedmar & Shi Pte Ltd Designshop.architects Pte Ltd Ezra Architects Ip:li Architects Million Lighting Co Pte Ltd Studio Lapis Unit 33 Pte Ltd ___________ Product Sponsors HP MUJI Optiled Smiggle ___________ Printing Sponsor Xorex Press Pte Ltd | 45


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SOUNDS

http://8tracks.com/nus-paperspace/no-2-new-old

------------------------------------------------Anthony Hegarty - Landslide Fleetwood Mac Cover Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (2012) Johnny Cash - Hurt Nine Inch Nails Cover American IV:The Man Comes Around (2002) Arcade Fire & David Bowie - Wake Up Live At Fashion Rocks (2005) Dum Dum Girls - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out The Smiths Cover He Gets Me High (2010) Destroyer - Leave Me Alone New Order Cover Power, Corruption & Lies Covered (2012) Jenn Mierau - Lovesong The Cure Cover Hush (2012) Red Hot Chilli Peppers - I Get Around The Beach Boys Cover Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Covers (2012) Lana Del Rey - Blue Velvet Bobby Vinton Cover Paradise (2012) Capital Cities - Holiday Madonna Cover Holiday (2011) Flaming Lips - Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber Optic Jesus That You Gave Me) Fight Test (2003) | 47


Patricia Chia|massing axonometric Ruination of goods distribution centre in Altstetten, Zurich anticipated as rejuvenation into micrometropolis for the everyday.


The NEW|OLD Issue|| Jan-Feb 2013 Issue N°2  

For new year ahead. Cheers to the new semester.

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