Above, Under & Beyond: Deciphering The Road Ahead

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Khairudin Saharom

Studio Objectives

12% of our land here in Singapore are roads1. This doesn’t include land used for carparks and reserved for road expansion. For a small city with limited land for growth, this percentage is substantial. As we strive to be a car-lite city and efficient in land use, how do we ensure planning for our roads evolves together with our desire for a greener city that can accommodate growth of the population and economy? Roads often divide and separate. What if all our roads are designed so that we can build structures over or even under them, creating usable spaces, seamless environment and fluid pedestrian connectivity?

The automotive industry is already shifting gears to produce vehicles that are more sustainable and eco-friendly. We are seeing a surge in the use of e-vehicles that contribute less air and noise pollution to the environment. With this in mind and as our public transportation network grows in efficiency and coverage, can we expect an eventual reduction in the overall need for roads? With technology changing the perception of what roads are or could become, will we see a future where the roads today are transformed into a different breed of infrastructure or even a new land use typology as capacity need for vehicles drops? Is there something that can be done now so that the massive structures we build for our roads today can become the very structure for other uses in the future? Just the spirit of Klee’s painting “Revolt of the Viaduct”, can our vision and imagination for our city break free from the confines of our rigid infrastructure?

Paul Klee, Revolt of the Viaduct, 1937.

This studio attempts to delve into potential new infrastructure/ development typologies that could provide solutions for the future. You shall explore how our roads can be adapted for future developments as our city strives to find ways to grow sustainably.

The studio will be conducted in 4 stages:

Stage 1: Abstraction & Impression (1-2 weeks)

You will each be allocated one of the three featured sites:

Your first task is to produce a digital collage (A1 size, 200 dpi) based on your personal impression, understanding and thoughts of the given site. Have fun designing this collage! You may incorporate sketches, graphics, text and montage of pictures to convey what is most pertinent. Design the collage like it is part of an ad campaign for an upcoming development without having the need to reveal what this development is. Think of a design metaphor as a filler and guide. Tease your audience and pique their curiosity.

Video (duration: 30- 45sec) submissions are also accepted for this stage.

Stage 2: Site Analysis (2 weeks)

For this stage, you will work together with your other studio mates with the same site. Study the critical cross-sections, built forms, platform levels and terrains. Understand the contextual background – ecology, culture, history and economics.

Stage 3: Master Plan (3 weeks)

Within the same group, produce a master plan (within 800m radius) for your site to guide future growth and potential development of the area. The master plan should preserve and enhance the genius loci of the area, address the existing weaknesses as well as provide foundation and structure for its growth. Most importantly it will propose suitable components or intervention in preparation for Stage 4 which will be done individually. Massing model of suitable scale is expected.

Stage 4: Intervention (8 weeks)

Individually, propose and develop your architectural intervention based on the master plan.

1 Land Transport Authority, Singapore. https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltagov/en/who_we_are/our_work/road.html