The ‘Invisible’ Dialogues | Depression

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The new migrant worker centre adjacent to the ICA is envisioned as a nexus of activity where people from all walks of life can congregate and bond over shared activities. The programs are multidimensional and serve a wide array of people namely the elderly, family, office workers, and migrant workers. A journey-centric approach spans all 3 levels of the buildings. The topmost floor revolves around the theme of “coming to Singapore” and will focus on sharing more about the host country of the migrant workers/and their culture, their stories coming here, and their aspiration. The middle part of the building centres on their life in Singapore, and will display the contributions of migrant workers and house galleries that display the artworks of migrant workers. The lowest level will revolve around their future in Singapore, and will thus focus on the activities that help to integrate locals and migrant workers. Running through the centre of the building will be this service core, where all the migrant worker NGOs and their helps services are centralised and made easy to access for foreign workers.

Spatial Organisation

Building render

Level 1 Floorplan (Street Level)

The first level serves as an urban connector that bridges the waterfront to the MRT exit and the top right corner of the street where the main pedestrian traffic comes from. There are 2 main spines with programs adjacent to them, creating break-out spaces. The first level also serves as a therapy space for migrant workers but also can be used for the general public. There are 3 types of therapy spaces. The first is the normal recreational spaces, these include activity spaces like picnic spots, an outdoor theatre, and an exercise bridge. Then there are 2 types of garden spaces used for therapy: Active spaces that require interaction with nature and passive spaces where one simply immerses himself and let nature soothe.

Active garden spaces include activities such as horticulture therapy, where migrant workers and the elderly can come together to do simple activities like leaf printing, designing with pebbles, sowing seeds or weed pruning. This can not only help destress migrant workers but also help the elderly with Alzheimer’s through exercising smaller motor movements. There is also a community garden. Here, the plants are also chosen such that they attract fauna so the user can interact with animals and insects (studies have shown that such interaction with nature can help calm the mind). Another type of plant in the area is plants chosen to evoke memory /nostalgia. As many migrant workers come from countries such as Bangladesh, plants such as coconuts or jackfruits, or even the neem tree (which has significance in Hinduism) can be planted in these gardens. These can help create a sense of familiarity and also show cultural inclusivity. In addition, these types of plants can serve as conversation starters between locals and migrants who are using the community garden.

Along the waterfront, there are kinetic swings on the bridge. The swings are there for destressing purposes ( studies have shown that the movement of swinging helps to stimulate the vestibular system which helps to relieve stress). There are also bright orange pods along the bridge which serve as private pods for migrant workers as a space of relief from their often overcrowded environment. The pods and the bridge are in a bright orange hue as a means to create easy wayfinding for the elderly living in the area

At the bottom left corner of the site there is the therapy garden with secluded seating areas. This is an alternative to the community garden, where people can go to experience a quieter and mroe tranquil environment. The plants here are specifically chosen to have cooler colors like blue and purple and have a pleasant fragrance.

Section perspective

Axo Drawing

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