Dwelling HDB

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Image Credit: Ziyan



Ling Hao (Ling Hao Architects)

One of the spaces where a kind of openness is felt in Singapore are the old housing estates of the HDB. There are no boundary walls or fences and if you were to walk freely here and there, you would casually come across all kinds of different situations, from workers having an after lunch nap, cats lounging, a child chasing after her father, a gang of 10 people mowing the lawn simultaneously or just open quiet spaces. Over 50 years, the people who stay or work in the HDB, plants and other life forms have adapted to the built physicality and together lived it into this environment, this world of the HDB. The individual apartment could be described as the centre of the human dwellers world, from which their everyday would begin and end. The architectural discussions in the beginning, around the 1970s, of the design of the apartment revolved around various kinds of measurements, in milimetres of the space, construction making and costs, natural light and ventilation, dwellers per block, blocks per neighbourhood. Blocks, precint, neighbourhood, void, corridor, lift, stairs, carpark, playground, covered walkway, hawker centre, wet market, rain trees, angsanas, mahoganies form a slowly transforming ubiquity. This is a common life world of Singapore, with shared ways of behaving.

New relationships are still being made. The layouts of this towns; apartments and spaces in between are changing. What kinds of behaviours would take place? The town of Punggol is not so new but it is considerably young. The fresh air lingering with cement powder, scenes of construction workers, new families moving in, cement pavers being driven over for the first times, are common sights in new parts of Punggol. Here it is not a shock of the new but a intense repetition of received good practices.

We will dwell on imagining the future lives of Punggol. Thinking about how the place will change in next 50 years, we will conceive drawings and models of different scales in periods of 10 to 15 years, over the duration of the semester. We will grow old and accumulate know how, richer relationships and hopefully fresh feelings.