ZOE LIM KAI EE A0126216N DESIGN JOURNAL THESIS SUPERVISOR: DR. HO PUAY PENG
06 SINGAPORE CHINESE CULTURE
SINGAPOREAN CHINESE IDENTITY IDENTITY AND CONTEXT
18 IDENTITY IN SINGAPORE IDENTITY AND ARCHITECTURE
SCENARIO ENTER GEYLANG
24 PROJECTING OF FUTURE SG CHINESE IDENTITY
28 SITE STUDIES SITE CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSED AREA
CONCEPT & PROCESS
44 CONCEPT & OBJECTIVE PLANNING PROCESS ANALYSIS AND PROJECT PARAMETERS DESIGN STRATEGIES & PROCESS
68 CONTEXT FORM
REFLECTIONS DESIGN CONCLUSION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
「 千里之行，始於足下。」 “A thousand mile journey begins with the first step.” - Chinese philosopher, Laozi. Tao Te Ching, Chapter 64.
In the recent decades, the Chinese community is facing challenges to sustain its presence in todayâ€™s society and the loss in Chinese culture is even more profound in the new generations. Some started constantly searching for who they are and rethinking their Chinese-ness. However, Most of the new generations no longer have a strong affiliation and interested in their identity and cultural practices. Many of the traditional cultural forms have been driven to extinction as the loss of relevance in the fast-changing environment. The thesis examines how various tangible and intangible cultural forms have shaped Singapore Chinese identity in a state of flux. Chinese ethnic identity plays a significant role as part of building Singaporeâ€™s national identity and culture. The diaspora of Chinese to Singapore in the early eighteenth century was driven by various factors that constructed the beginning of identity in Singapore. Diversity of the society has fostered Singaporean Chinese identity and expressed the cultural form which shared the perception of experience, customs and practices, values, and architecture. Looking at Geylang as the proposed site invention, it nestled high intensity of production of a cultural repository of Singaporean Chinese Cultural forms that shaped the dynamic to the area. This thesis seeks to look at how can architecture foster a stronger relationship and evoke the cultural identity with the younger generations of Singapore Chinese community.
The Chinese ethnic identity plays a significant role as part of building Singapore’s national identity and culture. The diaspora of Chinese to Singapore in the early eighteenth century was driven by various factors which constructed the beginning of Chinese ethnic identity in Singapore. The “first wave” of Chinese immigrants came Singapore were mostly from the southern provinces of China. In the past, identity was cultivated with a strong affiliation with China within the Chinese community. The diversity in society fostered Singaporean Chinese identity and expressed the cultural form which shared the perception of customs,practices and experience, value, and architecture. We see a identification of the Singaporean Chinese Identity which has been playing as a tangible and intangible cultural transmission, from the traditional Chinese Opera to Xin Yao. The varied locality of Singaporean Chinese culture enhances the richness of its cultural practices which makes a collective memory in the community.
FOSTERING A CULTURAL REPOSITORY FOR SINGAPOREAN CHINESE CULTURE IN A FAST-CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
The varied locality of Singaporean Chinese culture enhances the richness of its cultural practices which makes a collective memory in the community. While many of the traditional cultural forms have been driven to extinction, some started to rethinking their Chinese-ness. The thesis aims to examine how various tangible and intangible cultural forms has constructed Singaporean Chinese identity and providing spaces to foster and cultivate cultural forms in the state of flux.
The loss in Chinese culture is even more profound in the new generations. The Chinese community faces disconnections with the new generations and struggles to sustain its presence in todayâ€™s society. The discourse has been increasingly challenged by the influx of new China migrants with the homogeneity of Chinese co- ethnic. Some started constantly searching for who they are and rethinking their Chinese-ness. However, Most of the new generations no longer have a strong affiliation and interested in their identity and cultural practices. Solutions to cope with the disconnections and loss of relevance are often short-term and ineffective due to the inability to catch up with the fast changing environment. As a result, many of the traditional cultural forms have been driven to extinction. The thesis objective will be achieved through two aspects of research on the focus of Singaporean Chinese identity. First, the thesis will examine the Singaporean Chinese identity through historical flow and the pattern of Chinese diaspora. Through the understanding of the context, it will identify the relevance of perception of identity to the communities.Second, the theory will identify the definition of identity and in Singapore context to expand the circle of analysis on the historical context of Singaporean Chinese Identity. The identity and architecture will identified the characteristics of identity in architecture and how architecture as a relevant aspect of the transmission of cultural identities. The thesis aims to examine how various tangible and intangible cultural forms has constructed Singaporean Chinese identity and providing spaces to foster and cultivate cultural forms in the state of flux. The thesis started questioning: 1. How do the tangible and intangible cultural qualities of the identity of communities manifest in the physical spatial environments? 2. How can architecture play a role in constructing a shared identity for the Chinese community in Singapore?
SINGAPOREAN CHINESE IDENTITY
“Who is Chinese? What does it mean to be Chinese?”1 Construct of the Chinese ethnic identity evolving from the first wave” of Chinese immigrants to Singapore came mostly from the southern provinces of China in the past to the Singaporean Chinese in today society. The Chinese immigrants remained their affiliation with China to constant remember themselves when are their roots from and staying relevant in the community. By setting up Clan associations and various social institutions, it allows Chinese immigrants to be educated and be aware of their cultural identity and keeping the practices, values, language, and customs ongoing in the community. As Chinese immigrants started to settle down, such strong affiliation has been diluted and disconnected from their homeland in the new generations.
1 Tong, Chee Kiong, and Kwok B. Chan. 2001. “One Face, Many Masks: The Singularity and Plurality of Chinese Identity.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 10 (3):361-389. doi: 10.1353/dsp.2011.0019.
THE â€œFIRST WAVEâ€? OF CHINESE IMMIGRANTS
As the shift of perception of identity, the community became fostering the Singaporean Chinese identity by cultivating collective memories in the cultural landscape and connecting the roots of the generations, giving continuity to the identity.
The diaspora of Chinese to Singapore in the early eighteenth century was driven by various factors that constructed the beginning of Chinese ethnic identity in Singapore. The “first wave” of Chinese immigrants to Singapore came mostly from the southern provinces of China. The major dialect subgroups were the Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hainanese, Hakka, Foochow and etc. Each dialect group has contributed to their traditional cultural practice and shaped the cultural form of the Chinese in Singapore. The establishment of the trading port has attracted the large crowd of Chinese migrants. Many opportunities have given the immigrants reasons to search for a better living. In the political and economic instability period, it has driven them to leave their homelands and get out of poverty that they were struggling in China. According to Wang Gungwu (1991)2, The pattern of Chinese diaspora could be identified by Huashang( 华商) (Chinese Trader), Huagong (华工) (Chinese Coolie), Huaqiao (华侨) (Chinese settler) and Huayi (华裔)(Chinese descent) and show the movement of the Chinese migration developed over the past centuries. Chinese Trader pattern is identified as the traders and merchants who have established businesses and economic activities that contributed to the growth of the trading port. Chinese Coolie pattern is identified as the labourers who have involved in the labour works for the trading port. Chinese Settler pattern was those well-educated professionals who decided to come down to Southeast Asia after the fall of Qing imperial in 1911. They perceive the importance of education to promote Chinese culture to those overseas Chinese. Chinese descent pattern is identified as the descendants of the ethnic Chinese who have settled down in a foreign country.
2 Wang, Gungwu. 2003. China and the Chinese overseas. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
Although being away from their homeland, most of the Chinese immigrants remain strong relationship affiliation to China as their homeland and intended to return to Ching after seeking for fortunes in Singapore. The establishment of education structure and the China-oriented press was cultivated in the Chinese community to keep the immigrant awareness of the ongoing events happening in China and stayed connection of their roots.3 These medium practiced Confucian classics have cultivated a strong Chinese identity within the Chinese community. However, due to the uncertainty of political situations in China, the urge to returning back to China became more distant. Over time, the eagerness of returning back to China was weakening, especially towards the Chinese descendants. As the rising of nationalism and the gaining of independence in Singapore, it has influenced the perspective of the immigrants to settle down. The Chinese identity has evolved towards the Singaporean Chinese identity progressively and changed its directions towards Singapore. Despite the settlement in Singapore has shaped the perspective of identity in the Chinese community; the older generations still remain strong affiliation with China. To them, their ethnic identity is based on territory and the relation to China. Some still prefer to themselves as “people of the Tang dynasty” or “tang ren”. 4The urge of returning back to China has remained strong to some of them and wanted to be buried in their ancestral place. In contrast, this sense of strong affiliation to China does not share by the younger Singaporean Chinese, either English or Chinese educated.5 Rather, the sense of identity and cultural confusion has resulted in searching the definition of “Chinese-ness” in the younger generation of Singaporean Chinese community.
3 Tong, Chee Kiong. 2010. Identity and ethnic relations in Southeast Asia: racializing Chineseness. London;Dordrecht;: Springer. 4 Tong, Chee Kiong, and Kwok B. Chan. 2001. “One Face, Many Masks: The Singularity and Plurality of Chinese Identity.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 10 (3):361-389. doi: 10.1353/dsp.2011.0019. 5 Tong, Chee Kiong, and Kwok B. Chan. 2001. “One Face, Many Masks: The Singularity and Plurality of Chinese Identity.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 10 (3):361-389. doi: 10.1353/dsp.2011.0019.
LOCALITY/ KINSHIP ASSOCIATION
Being in an unfamiliar land, the Chinese migrants were having difficulties to be rooted in the place and communicate with other ethnic groups as well as among the Chinese ethnic group itself because of the different dialect that they spoke. The emergence of social institutions was formed like Clan Association to accommodate and provide welfare needs and social spaces for the “First-wave” Chinese community. These self-help associations became a strong pillar for the Chinese community during the nineteenth century. Clan Associations are formed based on locality, kinship or trade. Beyond just a social institution, Clan Associations took on the leadership of providing the support of the Chinese community in various needs. It functioned as a medium to keep in contact with members’ ancestral homeland and assisted them to send supplies back if there are any disasters. Besides that, legalization of marriage is part of their role to legalise marriage for the Chinese immigrants. Clan Associations also inculcate the preservation of Chinese’s cultural identity by organising those major Chinese festivals and ritual events to keep the Chinese customs ongoing in the community. Beyond just a social institution, the establishment of educations and hospital were highly concerned as it created many opportunities for social mobility and addressed Chinese cultural heritage to the new generations in the Chinese community. However, as the decline of clan membership, the new generations has little affiliation to their locality or kinship group and feeling apathy of their connection in China. Therefore, these associations have revolved in its form and content to sustain its presence in the society. They have been giving back to the community by involving in charitable event and sponsored sponsorship to school and the social needs.
IDENTITY AND CONTEXT
In the state of flux, perception of identity become complex and challenging to maintain it. CMIO framework has oversimplify the diversity of the Chinese ethnic identity and result from a loss of defining it. Displacement of tangible cultural form has impacted the production of intangible cultural form which means the spirit of Singaporean Chinese identity. With the influx of new China migrants, the re-thinking of the level of Chinese-ness in Singaporean Chinese identity has been questioned. With the increasing movement of the urban landscapes, tangible repository that generating and fostering the intangible repository became jeopardised. Visibility of tangible repository is gradually fading in the urban ground has increased the difficulties of transmission the intangible repository. This has emerged the loss of relevance in the people everyday life and the fading of the traditional form of cultural crafts and practices.
EVOLVING PERCEPTION OF SINGAPOREAN CHINESE IDENTITY
“How you are seen and how your otherness can be observed, and all the qualities, beliefs and ideas which make you feel are different from everyone else, or that you belong to a particular group.”6
6 Yilmaz, Meltem, and Meltem maz. 2006. “Architectural identity and local community.” Ekistics 73 (436/441):140-146.
Questions like “what is our identity?’ “Who we are?” were thoughts that run constantly in one mind to define one’s identity with the understanding of individuality and oneness. This perception of identity may also perceive across a group as well. Yilmaz defines identity as a referential symbol of a permanent collection of customs, practices, and meaning with a set of shared characteristics and experiences. It expresses the cultural values that form a sense of social wholeness leading to a perception of the identification of the people within the environment.7 Thus, Culture is a defining element of a one’s identity which further mentioned by Yilmaz, A culture shaped a structure of practices and customs that reflect in lifestyles, human behaviours, perceptions, presence and also in the built environment. In an environment that is constantly in a state of flux, Culture expresses the interaction between human and environment over time and space, evolving along with the changes of human behavioural, with a degree of adopting of new demands and shape into everyday practice. Michael explains that individual continuously relevant and shape cultural forms in light of changing notion and how changed forms than spread through communities and cultures.8 The identity aspect of culture produces tangible and intangible cultural form which expressing its own ways. However, the perception of identity unfolds into a more complex and diverse phenomenon where one is connected to the world network that meeting and interacting with people of cultural difference from its own is common. Some identity of cultures collectives have been a loss of its relevance and jeopardise within memory from one to communities. In the state of flux, the perceptions of identity become more complex and challenging to maintain it. The CMIO framework has to oversimplify the diversity of the Chinese ethnic identity and result from a loss of defining it. The displacement of tangible cultural form has impacted the production of intangible cultural form which means the spirit of Singaporean Chinese identity. With the influx of China migrants, the re-thinking of the level of Chinese-ness in Singaporean Chinese identity has been questioned.
7 Yilmaz, Meltem, and Meltem maz. 2006. “Architectural identity and local community.” Ekistics 73 (436/441):140-146. 8 Horn, Michael S. 2018. “Tangible Interaction and Cultural Forms: Supporting Learning in Informal Environments.” Journal of the Learning Sciences 27 (4):632-665. doi: 10.1080/10508406.2018.1468259.
IDENTITY IN SINGAPORE
“I am more Chinese than you.”9 In the context of Singapore, the ethnically diverse society has fostered a sense of identity among the people as a nation ‘by ensuring a stable society under the plural identification and multiculturalism. A system of framework, CMIO (Chinese-MalayIndian-Others) model separate the management and difference of ethnic groups.10 This helps to build up the national identity which shares the same perception of experience, memories, and values. However, it has neglected and created a dilution of the presence of co-ethnics with oversimplifying the diversity of the ethnic itself. A survey on ethnic identity in Singapore provided by Channel NewsAsia and Institute of Policy Studies showed that nearly 46 percent of the respondents identify both Singapore and Chinese identity are equally important. However, as compared to the other ethnic of respondents, the percent is slightly low.11 With the increasing levels of migration and the constant growing diversity, the loss of ethnic identity is more profound and this reflects clearly in the Chinese communities in Singapore. This has driven the Singaporean Chinese to rethink their Chinese-ness within the community and their relationship with the migrants. Sylvia Ang revealed how online narratives raised the ethnic fragmentation within Singaporean Chinese and the dispute with the migrants. The Homogeneity of Chinese co-ethnic by fitting the Chinese migrants with the Singaporean Chinese population has caused a discourse between both parties and generated identity tension.12 In a video with high viewing on the social platform, a local comedian teased. “Xenophobia is about Singaporean Chinese who hate China national.” 13 This identifies the Singaporean Chinese’s relations with migrants and how it has brewed among the local on the question of the influx of immigration and identity as a whole. The perception of identity does not share across the different generations of Singaporean Chinese. The above diagram (Figure 1.1) shows various aspect from language to practices have reflected that it is more profound that loss of sense of identity towards Chinese-ness and extensive apathy between in the younger generations.
9 Ang, Sylvia. 2017. “I am More Chinese than You: Online Narratives of Locals and Migrants in Singapore.” Cultural Studies Review 23 (1):102. doi: 10.5130/csr.v23i1.5497. 10 Lai, Ah Eng, and Studies Institute of Policy. 2004. Beyond rituals and riots: ethnic pluralism and social cohesion in Singapore. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. 11 https://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/docs/default-source/ips/wp-28_cna-ips-survey-on-ethnic-identity- insingapore.pdf?sfvrsn=4952600a_2 12 Ang, Sylvia. 2017. “I am More Chinese than You: Online Narratives of Locals and Migrants in Singapore.” Cultural Studies Review 23 (1):102. doi: 10.5130/csr.v23i1.5497. 13 https://sg.news.yahoo.com/video/k-kumar-xenophobia-hate-ang-123240402.html
IDENTITY AND ARCHITECTURE
“Through personal attachment to geographically locatable places, a person acquires a sense of belonging and purpose which give meaning to his/her life — The Central reference point of human existence. The sense of rootedness or centeredness is an unselfconscious state. The Essence of place lies in the largely unselfconscious intentionality that defines places”14 Identity and Architecture as a whole defines the characteristics of the community. Architecture functions as a relevant aspect to manifest identity in tangible form. The identity of place creates personal attachments to the space, giving one a sense of belonging to their perception. Thus, Identity and Architecture are closely related to the sense of place which further explained by Yilmaz, Architecture and the urban environment are relevant aspects as a transmission of cultural identities to pass down from one generation to the next.15 Hee identified three aspect of identity in architecture through constructing Singapore public space include, Ethnic Space, Ethnoscape, and Space of exchange. Ethnic space defines as a tangible repository of its historical and cultural context of an ethnic groups and also being relevant to the modern society. It also functions as a contested space where various groups with different interests are led into proximity. Ethnoscape defines as a social support to form the needs of sharing, companionship, recreational and identity of places. The visibility of ethnoscape could result an increase of perception for the local who are different from them as well. Last, Space of exchange identifies as intervention of space and opportunities between various groups and allows one to experience otherness as a common ground to view various perspectives.16 These three aspects reflected the views of identity in the construction of spatial practices. However, there is a discourse of identity and architecture which no longer make one feel connected and sense of belonging in the state of flux. With the rapidly evolving of urban landscape in Singapore, Ethnic spatial practices have emerged to more diverse and changes in Singaporean Chinese community. Clan association as the space of social production no longer foster the production and re-production of ethnicity and identity in the community which driven by the mobility of commercialisation.
14 Yilmaz, Meltem, and Meltem maz. 2006. “Architectural identity and local community.” Ekistics 73 (436/441):140-146. 1 15 Yilmaz, Meltem, and Meltem maz. 2006. “Architectural identity and local community.” Ekistics 73 (436/441):140-146 16 Hee, Limin. 2017. Constructing Singapore Public Space. Singapore: Springer Singapore.
Scenarios projection generated different perspective of the future of Singaporean Chinese identity in the next 30 yearsâ€™ time frame. Through identifying the level of perception of identity and its relevance, scenarios have examined the possible strategies of analysing the issue and questioning how the projections could shape the intervention and evoke the sense of identity with the younger generations of Singapore Chinese community.
SCENARIOS 01: NEW FORM OF CLAN ASSOCIATION
In 2030, the diminishing of old clan association will slowly fade out due to the struggle to stay relevant in the context. The lack of commitment from the new generations and facing the progress in the state of flux has challenged the community to remain the old form of practices, In 2040, as compared from the existing cultural practices, New Clan Association would reform a new cultural approach to promote a space of exchanges and reproduction of identity-spaces. A new approach will establish a clan community by common interest and commonalities which allow a platform for sharing and start up. In 2050, the continuing process of engagements helps the young members to form a shared identity as a new social platform for discussion and communities. The continuity of expansion has created more new clan communities and constructs a new shared identity.
SCENARIOS 02: CULTURAL CLUSTER FOR SINGAPOREAN CHINESE CULTURE
In 2030, the threat of commercialisation has resulted in more cultural spaces and associations will give way to redevelopment. With the constant influx of ethnic district displacing the local and intensifying the mobility of commercialisation, it has occurred in the diminishing of tangible and intangible cultural form towards the loss of ethnic identity and culture manifestation. In 2040, the reactivating mobility of local cultural networks will evoke the spirit of shared identity in the Singaporean Chinese community. The feeling of apathy could alarm the sense of interest and relevance in the ethnic identity and culture for the younger generations. 17 In 2050, the effect of reactivating mobility of local cultural networks has established strong engagements with the community. Constructing a ground for spaces of Singaporean Chinese culture could form the presence of tangible and intangible cultural forms as the programs and cultivate a collective memory in the Singaporean Chinese community.
17 Patriarca, Giovanni. 2013. â€œAgainst apathy: reconstruction of a cultural identity.â€? Journal of Markets & Morality 16 (2):543.
“Geylang is a chaotic, rugged district teeming with traditional eatries, fruit sellers and other small businesses. Small budget hotels thrive amidst private and public residential estates”18 – Lim, William Siew Wai. 2004. Architecture, art, identity in Singapore: is there life after tabula rasa? Singapore: Asian Urban Lab.
18 Lim, William Siew Wai. 2004. Architecture, art, identity in Singapore: is there life after tabula rasa? Singapore: Asian Urban Lab.
GEYLANG: RICHNESS OF CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS ESTABLISHMENT IN A STATE OF FLUX
Complexity and richness of the identity in Geylang with existing tangible culture form express the possibility of fostering intervention as a distinct of Singaporan chinese culture.
Back in the 1840s, the establishment of Geylang has been developed when the British government dispelled the Malay villages at the rim of the Singapore River. Geylang road introduced as one of the first trunk road connecting to the downtown in Singapore River to the north-eastern area of Singapore. The early agricultural area in Geylang was known for Lemongrass and coconut processing factory, therefore the name of Geylang said to be derived from factory or Kilang in Malay. 19 Developing in the 1900s has divided and extended the Geylang River into two areas. Geylang Serai as the eastern parts was populated by the Malays while the western area was subdivided into a series of “Lorong” and was mainly inhabited by the Chinese. Within the Lorongs and along Geylang Road, there is a prevalent association with cultural and religious accommodation that last till now even though the influx of residential and commercial developments are transforming Geylang into a homogeneous residential cluster in the recent years.20 The opening of Happy World Amusement Park in 1930s has marked a prominent landmark in Geylang as part of the three well-known “Worlds: Great, New and Happy” in Singapore. The boom of entertainments and recreational activities has shaped the character of Geylang as a new and one of the main entertainment districts, with a various cluster of activities from theatre performances, movies and cultural shows, arcades, and sports. With the increasing popularity of Happy World Amusement Park, it has flourished the businesses of the eateries, night lounges, and entertainments in Geylang. It was once turning into a gambling den during the Japanese Occupation but soon after the war ended, the gambling den was closed down and was renamed to Gay World Amusement Park in 1966. However, the attractions of the crowd did not last due to the lack of proper maintenance and deteriorating condition. With the last demolition of Gay World in 2001, it has marked the end of the legacy of the three “Worlds” in Singapore.21 The accessibility of entertainment places and cultural-religious facilities to the residents of the mature estates of Kampong Ubi, MacPherson, Kallang Way, Aljunied, and Geylang East shaped diverse urban functions in the community. Furthermore, Geylang was experiencing a state of flux around as it located in between two main areas; Paya Lebar and Kallang serve as commercial and lifestyle hub which highlighted in the URA Master plan 2008. This serves as an important node for a long-term urban approach of a Cultural cluster in Geylang where the aim is to examine how various tangible and intangible cultural forms has constructed Singaporean Chinese identity and providing spaces to foster and cultivate cultural forms in the state of flux. The complexity and richness of the identity in Geylang will be a relevant site to explore Singaporean Chinese culture for a new intervention.
19 Rahman, Saat A., Mohd Mohamad Maidin Packer, and Committee Kampong Ubi Citizens’ Consultative. 2005. The heart of Geylang Serai. Singapore 20 https://www.ura.gov.sg/Conservation-Portal/Explore/History?bldgid=GYLG 21 Yeoh, Brenda, Theresa Wong, and Archives National. 2015. Over Singapore 50 years ago: an aerial view in the 1950s. Second ed. Singapore: Editions Didier Millet.
GEYLANG | SITE STUDIES Geylang shows the possibility of proposing a cultural intervention with the richness of cultural and religious establishment such as varied distribution of tangible and intangible cultural forms, existing program networks and topographical location.
Urban Street Pattern In the Geylang urban landscape, mappings of the site started to explore along the lorongs from Sims Ave, Geylang Road, and Guillemard Road where conservation area designated by URA. The Lorongs in Geylang has designated that the upper areas were the odd number of Lorongs and lower areas were in even numbers of Lorongs. Along the whole stretch of Geylang Road, Shophouses took the majority of the front faรงade on the street which indicated as conservation buildings.
1850-1950s Geylang, in the early topographical maps, was coconut plantations as primarily agricultural in use beside and adjacent to the mouth of the Kallang River with the form of malay settlement before the 19th century. As the inhabitant moved to inland during the 19th century and the population growth and housing boom has turned Geylang from an agricultural centre into a focus of housing ventures with a mix of shophouses, rowhouses and compound house/kampung houses.
1960s During the years of merger and post-independence, some of the earliest Chinese Schools as well as Clan associations are formed or relocated their establishment to Geylang areas with the wave of immigrants who were working in the factories around Geylang/Kallang area. The Urban developments started to expand the outskirts of Geylang roads with more residential and institutional areas.
1970s After the independence, Geylang begun to see a development of residential estates and infrastructure around the outskirts and inner of the area which led to the buildings of the Eunos crescent, kallang, Guillemard road estate and the expansion of Geylang River into a canal to overcome problems of flooding.
1980s Up till the 1980s, several more developments continued to take place. The was the period when Aljunied MRT line opens towards the late 1980s and Kallang and Gulliemard road estate was fully developed as well. In 1980s, it can also been seen the continuing development of residential estate around the Lorong 25 to 37 and several close down of Chinese institution due to the population shirt and drift towards english stream institution.
1990s - onwards
Over the years, the influx of Residential-Institution developments have changed the urban typology not just within the Lorong in Geylang as well as the outskirts of the area. With the amendment of URA Master Plan 2014 of rezoning parts of Geylang to Commerical-Institution, it will rebalance the friction with residential uses and eroding the area. More focus was given on the redevelopment around the Guillemard road and the national stadium where new infrastructure, upcoming Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre and New Kallang Fire Station in 2019.
Transport Networks & Traffice Flow The pattern of the street laid out in Geylang is in a grid structure where the three main traffic flows, top is Sims Ave, middle is Geylang Road and bottom is Guillemard Road, along with the perimeter. The bustling of three main traffic flows was due to the accessibility to the expressway and the central district. The flows will branch out to the Lorongs and most of the lorongs are single traffic lanes which allow parallel parking along the Lorong. Often, this caused the congestion in the traffic.
Program Planning Zone In the URA Master Plan 2014, the planning zone of Geylang has been amended parts of the area from residential/institution to commercial/institution to balance out the lower and upper Lorong in the commercial and residential activities. 22However, this rezoning has driven the property market in the area as the property prices are not competitive. More interests from the Developers and investors have shown by going through a collective sale process of redevelopment and merge existing residential clusters.23 The effect of the rezoning has affected a Clan Association, Huang Shi Zong Hui Singapore (Huang Clan Association) that has been established at Geylang since 1937, 24 facing the fate of redevelopment. The subsequent movement has bubbled up more en bloc sale in the urban landscape of Geylang.
22 https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Media-Room/Media-Releases/pr15-02 23 https://sg.news.yahoo.com/investment-opportunities-geylang-rezoning-create-150811730.html 24 http://www.huangclan.org/aboutUs.asp
Hotels and Residential Various scale of hotels clusted around the area, mainly in the red-light district. The widespread of hotels along Geylang also shows the presence of red-light activites. Various scale of residential from
Locality & Kinship Clan Associations In the Geylang urban landscape, mappings of the site started to explore along the lorongs from Sims Ave, Geylang Road, and Guillemard Road where conservation area designated by URA. The Lorongs in Geylang has designated that the upper areas were the odd number of Lorongs and lower areas were in even numbers of Lorongs. Along the whole stretch of Geylang Road, Shophouses took the majority of the front faรงade on the street which indicated as conservation buildings.
Cultural & Religious Organisations In the urban fabric of Geylang, it has a high intensity of cultural and religious involvement. Some cultural and religious association formed and shared in the same association building.
GEYLANG | VISUAL SITE STUDIES Locating between the residential and commerical district, Geylang has a various mix of urban typologies that reflects its historical layer pattern and the hidden forces shaping its urban landscape and surrounded those signifance landmarks.
GEYLANG | SITE CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSED AREA
Looking into the perimeter of Geylang, the proposed site area has narrowed down into Lorong 22 to Lorong 41 where higher intensity of cultural forms involved and the accessibility to the MRT. One of a significant historical entertainment landmark opened in 1932, the Former Queen’s Theatre is located at the junction of Geylang Road and Guillemard Road. It used to be one of the main entertainment spot as a suburban theatre in Geylang and offer various range of films from Europe to local. 25 However, the stiff competition from Television and videotapes have been resulted the decline of the movie industry.
In 2000, Former Queen’s Theatre has been redeveloped into Grandlink Square with apartment and commercial units. The Front Façade was remained and become part of the façade. Along Lorong 24A, the high intensity of Clan Associations and cultural practices is significant to the urban fabric of Geylang. Along the street, it house two stretch of shophouses with rich detailing on the façade. Lorong 24A Series was a conservation project for 8 shophouses which have significant cultural characteristics along the street. The surroundings house various clan associations as well as a religious library. 26
25 https://roots.sg/Content/Places/landmarks/geylang-serai-foot-trail/former-queens-theatre 26 https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Get-Involved/Conserve-Built-Heritage/Architectural-Heritage-Season/- /media/041D8C25C57743E188ABAF2342FC8152.ashx
Looking at the possible architectural intervention and stategies, the architectural projects show the possible explorations and techonic could shape the design and form through the quality of spaces. It also reflects the possibility of adaptive reuse of the existing context for the reinvention.
THE MILLS 南豐紗廠
As a landmark revitualization project by Nan Fung Group, it was established in 1954 as Nan Fung Cotton Mills and developed into one of the largest textile manufacturing industry in Hong Kong. The decline of cotton industry has decreased the production and ended its operations, turning into a warehouse before the intervention. The proposed intervention curate the spaces for incubator, experiential retail and non-profit cultural institution. The intervention adapted the existing building structure and materials and designed as part of the intervention. It used to be three individual buildings, the reinvention link the three seperate buildings with connecting glass bridges.
MLD 台鋁@ 高雄 | KOAN DESIGN
MLD (Metropolitan Living Development) was formerly an aluminium manufacturing plant, producing aluminium products from the furnance since the Japanese colonial period. The reinvention turned into a multi-purpose ensemble for entertainment, lifestyle and leisure spaces. Existing structure was remained which become part of the new arcade. New glass curtain wall was cladded behind the existing steel columns during the construction, leaving nice elegant old structures fully exposed.
MIHO MUSEUM | I.M. PEI
The museum is the expression of that moment, under the concept of Shangri-La. Walking through the tunnel and the suspension bridge before reaching the main building and during the season change, the peek view of the greenary through the tunnel express the beautiful landscape surrounding the site with the chinese tale, â€œ Peach Blossom Valleyâ€?. the narrative express through the architecture in the choice of materials and the experience in the quality of spaces.
HUASHAN 1914 CREATIVE PARK 華山1914 化創意產業園區
The former wine factory is situated in the midst of The Central Taipei, serving as a wine production during the 1900s. After the factory was closed in 1987, the factory has redeveloped into a art complex which raised by the grassroots effort in 1997 and reopened as Huashan 1914 Creative park in 2005 to offered artists a platform to develop their creations and for the nonprofit organisations a venue to hold activities. Theater groups, painters, wood sculptors, writers, movie producers and directors from Taiwan and abroad have found in the park a timeless pace to showcase their creative talents. Creating experience of a cultural and Creative development for other cities in Taiwan, spreading out the value of cultural and Creative activities through pleasant consumer experience. The site showed the possibility of re-constituting existing buildings and serve a different programs for its relevance.
SONGSHAN CULTURAL & CREATIVE PARK 松山創園區
Former Songshan tobacco factory built in 1937, the premise were one of Taiwan’s first tobacco plant and under the Japanese government. In 1988, the factory ended the production of cigarettes for the regulatory changes and decline in tobacco demand. In 2011, the government redevelop the former factory into a Creative park. As compare to Hua Shan, the plot size is bigger and similar site context. It also serve as a platform to nurture Creative talents and energy and involved as organisations of Creative lab, co-op, school, showcase and hub. The development of cultural and creative industry shows the possibility of program intervention that could foster cultural related establishment.
CONCEPT & PROCESS
The architecture language explores the potential of narratives and the sense of openness by expressing the natural expression of the identity in the choice of material and architecture. The architectural language of the typology of shophouse and si he yuan, where a continuation of courtyard space, enhancing a layer of the connection with nature, â€œ inside is life, outside is natureâ€? and bring people in the community together. The choice of materials and architecture express the architectural language of typical Chinese architectural structural framework in organizing grid spatial layout.
CURATING A PLACE FOR THE CONTINUITY OF SINGAPORE CHINESE CULTURE
To construct a cultural repository of Singaporean Chinese culture and foster traditional cultural establishment in Geylang. Through this cultural manifestation, thesis seeks to foster the continuation with the new generations of the Singapore Chinese community.
DESIGN PROCESS | 24 SOLAR TERM
24 solar terms as a systematic set of astronomical knowledge which is closely associated with the climate change and ecological system. In agriculture, people manage their work in the fields, such as when to sow, reap and what to plant at the particular solar term. Every year during the winter solstice, families member will get together and eat tang yuan symbolizing a reunion of the family. This reflects the importance of the 24 solar terms in Chinese food culture, agriculture and other concepts like traditional Chinese medicines and yin yang, in our daily life. Thus, 24 solar terms and the connection with the nature of food emphasize the balance between nature and humans, earth and atmosphere.
PLANNING PROCESS | INITIAL PLANNING
Three potential sites are chosen into three phases for constructing an intervention of Singaporean Chinese culture. Phase One as a cultural and religious establishment at Lorong 25 Geylang as it houses high-intensity religious involvement. This plays a significant role in foster cultural practices for the intervention. Phase Two as a cultural art establishment at Lorong 24A and 26 Geylang as it houses one of the highest intensity of clan associations in Geylang. The existing cultural involvement could be a channel for evoking the sense of belonging for the intervention. Phase Three as a performing art establishment at Former Queenâ€™s Theatre as it is a significant landmark since the 1930s. The reinvention could revitalize the use of Former Queenâ€™s Theatre and allows cultivating traditional performing arts. Focusing on Phase Two as the cultural art establishment, the proposed site will form into two clusters, Cluster A&B.
The intervention will start at Cluster A as Cultural Art Craft space. Traditional craftsmen could establish workshop and curation for cultivating the methods of the local crafts. Cultural Culinary Craft along the front shop house will be accommodating studios and F&B for sharing various dialects traditional cultural cuisines. In the existing Lorong 24A shop house series, a new program will be accommodating curated space for traditional craftsmen and new craftsmen with apartments. In this grid pattern in the urban fabric of Geylang, there is no sense of gather point on site. By utilizes, the existing back lane could activate a network of the clusters. Once the cluster is mature, cluster B will further extend to Lorong 24 as curating space and library for housing more traditional craft establishment. This will further enhance the experiences of Singaporean Chinese culture and foster local cultural forms.
Exploring the three potential site for the intervention, each site location express the possibility of curating a cultural node to accommodate cultural engagement for the geylang community. Master planning is looking a potential site plot, as a cultural establishment that expose to public yet remain the hidden lorong street scape which able to regenerate the possibility activities at the backalley. Over time, the network could grow in strength and serve as a node for the geylang and the chinese community.
PLANNING PROCESS | PROJECT PARAMETER The intervention narrow down to Lor 24A geylang as the proposed site intervention as the potential of backalley and community engagement in the context could serve as a gather node for geylang community as well as the surrounding chinese cultural establishment. Site analysis reflect the existing network in the site that could foster as a stategies in the architectural planning.
Proposed site surrounded by shophouses and backalley which challenged the possibility of creating the sense of openness in the space. Consideration of the architectural language and height envelope are needed to be taken care of due to the low rise building in the existing context. With the layers of street hierarchy, it enriches the experience of sense of hiddenness and spatial experience in finding the space. Such â€œlayersâ€? reflects the concept of Oku by Fumihiko Maki, that express spatial experience of organising multiple layers, harbor inner space throughout interior spaces and urban spaces.
DESIGN PROCESS | PRECEDENT STUDIES
HOUSE IN CHAU DOC | NISHIZAWA ARCHITECTS
The project integrated with natural ventilation, greenery and sunlight, creating a space surrounding nature. Understanding the existing site conditions, the project adopted local materials and construction techniques and method as part of the architectural intentions. Internal solid walls into movable partitions changes the space into a one continuous spaces, allowing ventilation and light into the space.
PLANTER BOX HOUSE | FORMZERO ARCHITECT
The redefintion of a contemporary tropical house enrich the spatial experience through enhance spatial environment in tropical climate and relationship to the surrounding community, Creating pocket of greenery view in each spaces, it soften the harsh vision view towards the srrounding building and serve as a soft boundary between the immediate neighbour and users. By having planter boxes at the facade, it created a strong visual contrast within the site, giving additional engagement spaces for inter-neighbourhood interaction. The integration with greenery and creating another spatial experience in viewing out could reflect the sense of connection with nature as part of the design intention and the relationship with solar term.
NEST WE GROW |
KENGO KUMA & ASSOCIATES & COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN UC BERKELEY
The project intention is to bring the community together to the place and prepare, enjoy local foods. The projects examine the possibiliy on renewable materials and structural elements to create food oriented space. understanding the climate response, the project took the advantage of transparent plastic corrugated sheet on the facade and roof which allow lighting into the spaces and heating the space during colder months, extendind the usability of the architecture. the openness of the space shaped the signifies of the building to bring nature, the air, water and light into the space.
DESIGN PROCESS | FORM PROCESS
Architectural language of a typical shophouse express the flow of space through the hierarchy and the distinctive five-footway. The symmetry and orientation position along the north-south axis which relates to the traditional chinese philosophy of universal balance theory. Courtyard serve as a central space where guests will be entertained and invited to. The expression of facade emphasizes various period of styles through motifs and structural elements which illustrates the defining characteristics influence by the architectural movement. By understanding the characteristic of the shophouse, the reexamine of the typology give the enjoyment of internal greenery views and ventilation.
SI HE YUAN TYPOLOGY
A typical Chinese courtyard house, si he yuan ( 四合院 ) express the similar language of s typical shophouse in terms of symmetry and orientation position. The spatial layout of si he yuan included houses in four sides with a family yard at the centre, creating a linear privacy. The arrangement of the space with the continuation of courtyard space emphasizes the rules of hierarchial system. By understanding the characteristic of the si he yuan, it enhances a layer of spatial quality and experience the tranquillity.
The architectural language express the traditional Chinese architectural structural framework in organizing grid spatial layout. The using of timber modular enhances the visual characteristic of Chinese identity and reflects an inherited understanding of nature and systematic construction method.
DESIGN STRATEGY | CLIMATE RESPONSE Climate response relates to the concept of 24 solar term in traditional Chinese astronomical. In Chinese customs and culture, the celebration of the begin of each season reflect the changes in climate, agriculture production, and solar-term associated festivals. The form of gathering become a big part of the celebration where ritual and practices will perform as a tradition and reunion. Traditionally an agricultural society, when the Chinese moved to Singapore, they were involved more in trading, but the culture that centered in agriculture and the 24 solar terms has been subsumed in every aspect of Chinese culture. Design intention response to the elements of 24 solar term where it reflects the importance of food, festive, climate and people in our daily life.
DESIGN STRATEGY |PROGRAM STRATEGY The intervention foster the continuation of the community identity through the sharing and food identity in Chinese culture. As a food repository, it curate opportunities for the engagement for the local food identity through guest house, tea bar, market hall, herb garden and food truck. Relate back to existing site context, Geylang, Food identity plays a pivotal role in social integration. Tea is a symbol of welcoming guest in our space and seven daily necessities express the importance of tea in Chinese culture. Tea bar serve as a space for sharing of social engagement and experiencing the value and symbolism in Singapore Chinese culture. A platform as a food medium for the community to foster shared identity curate opportunities for the continuity of Singapore Chinese culture through the function of food for thought. Program strategy analyse the flow of inner space which allows people to be invited into the backalley of Geylang urban space.
Situated at Lor 24A Geylang, the intervention as a food pavilion expressing the continuation of the Chinese customs and identity with the community through curating the experiences in the shared identity of symbolic meaning through food and festive in the Singapore Chinese culture. Traditionally an agricultural society, when the Chinese moved to Singapore, they were involved more in trading, but the culture that centered in agriculture and the 24 solar terms has been subsumed in every aspect of Chinese culture. Design intention response to the elements of 24 solar term where it reflects the importance of food, relationship, festive, climate and people in our daily life. The space as a medium for community engagement through the function of food for thought and enhance the sharing identity of the community. The continuation of community identity in Chinese culture foster a platform to experience the sharing of food ingredients and type in relating to the local food culture which enhance the intangible and tangible cultural form of the Chinese culture.
INHERITANCE OF SINGAPORE CHINESE CULTURE: A TASTE OF CULTURE
The thesis examine that â€œapathyâ€? sparks the anxiousness of cultural and identity practices and questioned the Singaporean Chinese to re-think their Chinese-ness and the affiliation towards Chinese culture. While the fast-moving cultural landscape has become more diversity flow of immigrants and loss in Chinese culture is even more profound in the new generation, many of the traditional cultural forms were unable to self-renewal and loss of relevance have been driven to extinction. The thesis examines how various tangible and intangible cultural forms play symbolic meanings in shaping Singaporean Chinese identity in the constantly evolving landscape and society.
HERB GARDEN: FARMING LOCAL HERBS AND PRESERVING DRIED GOODS
MARKET HALL: OFFERS A RANGE OF LOCAL PRODUCTS
PROPOSED SITE MODEL 1:100
DETAIL MODEL 1:10
In the constantly evolving landscape and society, Singaporean Chinese have been searching for their identity and a sense of belonging in the place that they call home. While Singapore is moving to a globalised city with more diversity flow of immigrants, this sparks the anxiousness of issues like loss of relevance and sense of identity among the people and the tangible repository that build up the identity. It has questioned the Singaporean Chinese to re-think their Chinese-ness and the extensive apathy in the new generations. In the context of Geylang, it could see the state of flux within a district. The urban complexity of the site mixed with diverse cultural forms to religious organisations. The displacement of those cultural forms is rapidly diminishing which jeopardise the establishment of a cultural repository. Through the projection of scenarios, it created a various perspective of evoking the shared identity and collective memory in the Singaporean Chinese community. The intervention emphasize the continuation of the Chinese customs and identity with the community in Geylang as a medium to foster the shared meanings and value through the function of food for thought to the new generations. Besides looking at the physical landscape, fostering the intangible cultural form of the community is necessary to convey the shared identity. What are the values and cultural forms that Singaporean Chinese can pass down the next generations that we can be honoured for? Will the shared identity we build be relevance to the future generations and be interested to continue the inheritance? What makes us a Singaporean Chinese?
For everyone whom being part of guiding me through this thesis. A big thank you to:
Professor Ho Puay Peng Thank you for the constant pushing and thoughtful advices when I was feeling lost and uncertain throughout the journey. Professor Johannes Widodo & Ho Weng Hin For their assistance and advice in every interim sessions My Friends For always being there to encourage and motivate me throughout the process My former employer Han and colleagues at HYLA Architects For their patience guidance during my gap year My Brothers, Benedict and Valente For lending me their listening ears My Partner, Yong Hui For his constant encouragements and providing helpful feedback to my research My Papa For always being supportive of what I do and a strong pillar in my life.
BIBLIOGRAPHY & APPENDIX
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Ang, Sylvia. 2017. “I am More Chinese than You: Online Narratives of Locals and Migrants in Singapore.” Cultural Studies Review 23 (1):102. doi: 10.5130/csr.v23i1.5497. Chong, Terence. 2006. “ETHNIC IDENTITIES AND CULTURAL CAPITAL: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF CHINESE OPERA IN SINGAPORE.” Identities 13 (2):283-307. doi: 10.1080/10702890600698702. Horn, Michael S. 2018. “Tangible Interaction and Cultural Forms: Supporting Learning in Informal Environments.” Journal of the Learning Sciences 27 (4):632-665. doi: 10.1080/10508406.2018.1468259. Kong, Lily. 1996. “Making “music at the margins”? A social and cultural analysis ofXinyaoin Singapore.” Asian Stud ies Review 19 (3):99-124. doi: 10.1080/03147539608713080. Montsion, Jean Michel. 2014. “Chinese ethnicities in neoliberal Singapore? State designs and dialect(ical) struggles of community associations.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37 (9):1486-1504. doi:10.1080/01419870.2 013.774034. Patriarca, Giovanni. 2013. “Against apathy: reconstruction of a cultural identity.” Journal of Markets & Morality 16 (2):543. Tan, Charlene. 2012. “”OUR SHARED VALUES” IN SINGAPORE: A CONFUCIAN PERSPECTIVE.” Educational Theory 62 (4):449. Tan, Eugene K. B. 2003. “Re-engaging Chineseness: Political, Economic and Cultural Imperatives of Nation- building in Singapore.” The China Quarterly 175 (175):751-774. doi: 10.1017/S0305741003000432. Tong, Chee Kiong, and Kwok B. Chan. 2001. “One Face, Many Masks: The Singularity and Plurality of Chinese Identity.” Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 10 (3):361-389. doi: 10.1353/dsp.2011.0019. Wong, Ting‐Hong. 2003. “Education and State Formation Reconsidered: Chinese School Identity in Postwar Singapore.” Journal of Historical Sociology 16 (2):237-265. doi: 10.1111/1467-6443.00203. Xie, Wenhan, and Francesco Cavallaro. 2016. “Attitudes towards Mandarin-English bilingualism: a study of Chinese youths in Singapore.” Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 37 (6):628-641. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2015.1122603. Yeoh, Saw Ai Brenda, and Lily Kong. 2012. “Singapore s Chinatown: Nation Building and Heritage Tourism in a Multiracial City.” Yilmaz, Meltem, and Meltem maz. 2006. “Architectural identity and local community.” Ekistics 73 (436/441):140-146.
APPENDIX INTERIM 01 PANELS
INTERIM 02 PANELS
INTERIM 03 PANELS
INTERIM 04 PANELS
INTERIM 05 PANELS
FINAL REVIEW PANELS
A TASTE OF CULTURE Thesis postulates that â€œapathyâ€? sparks the anxiousness of cultural & identity practices and questioned the Singaporean Chinese to re-think their Chinese-ness and their affiliation towards Chinese culture. While the fast-moving cultural landscape has become more diversity flow of immigrants, many of the traditional cultural forms unable to selfrenewal and loss of relevance have been driven to extinction. The thesis examines how various tangible and intangible cultural forms have shaped Singaporean Chinese identity in the constantly evolving landscape and society.
Situated @ Lorong 24A Geylang, the design intervention as a food pavilion express the continuation of the Chinese customs and identity through curating the experiences in understanding of the symbolic production and shared identity in the Singapore Chinese culture. Architectural spaces as a medium for community engagement through the function of food for thought & enhance the sharing identity of the community. The continuation of the community identity become a place to experience the sharing of food ingredients and type in related to local food culture which enhance the intangible and tangible cultural form of the culture.
The intervention foster the continuation of the community identity through sharing and food identity in Chinese culture. In the Chinese customs and culture, the celebration of the begin of each season reflect the changes in climate, agriculture production, & solar-term associated festivals. The form of gathering become a big part of the celebration where ritual and practices will perform as a tradition and reunion. With the community engagement in sharing food, the intervention curates a platform for the community to experience the value of food culture and the balance of nature and health through the engagement of making.
How do the tangible and intangible cultural qualities of the identity of communities manifest in the phyisial spatial environments? How can architecture play a role in constructing a shared identity for the Chinese community in Singapore?
Chinese-ness, Continuation, Food Identity, Singsporean Chinese Identity, Symbolic Meaning
SITE PLAN SCALE 1: 200
MARKET HALL : OFFERS A RANGE OF LOCAL PRODUCTS
HERB GARDEN : FARMING LOCAL HERBS AND PRESERVING DRIED GOODS
01. COURTYARD 02. GUEST HOUSE 03. LOBBY/ RECEPTION 04. LINKWAY TO CULINARY STUDIO 05. FOYER 06. FOOD ALLEY
03 06 05 FIRST STOREY
SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE AA SCALE 1: 50
EXPLODED AXONOMETRIC ATRIUM : PERSPECTIVE VIEW OF THE TREE AROUND THE CORE
01. FOYER 02. TEA BAR 03. WORK SPACE 04. MARKET HALL 05. ATRIUM & BAR 06. CULINARY STUDIO 07. RETAIL SPACE 08. TERRACE
SECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE BB SCALE 1: 50