“By 2030, the number of Singaporeans aged 65 and above is projected to double to 900,000. That means 1 in 4 Singaporeans will be in that age group, up from 1 in 8 today.”
Population.sg, Department of Statistics
Ageing will affect us all. What can architects—as opposed to planners or policy makers—do?
Can we design not just to “age-proof,” but to enable ageing with dignity? Can we change our city so that an older adult’s lifeworld is not narrowed to the immediate neighbourhood, or home? Can areas from younger days be retained as places of pleasure and sensory stimulation?
As we age, we experience mobility restriction, often exacerbated by the “resistant material environment.” In this studio we will propose surgical “guerrilla” interventions to combat this. Examples of object/ graphics led projects include the Resistant Sitting project in Newham (images above), and the KWIEK urban exercise route in Eindhoven. Our studio will develop analogous proposals on a larger scale, using the architect’s tools.
We will begin with literature research, field work (observation and consultations with social welfare groups such as CARElderly and Charis), and other experiments to simulate sensory or mobility limitations. To locate sites of intervention, we will map and critique ubiquitous elements of the Singaporean physical environment, such as the five-foot way, the HDB void deck, bus stops, pedestrian bridges—as well as standard details such as the LTA/ PUB standard railings. Interventions will be proposed and, by the end of term, developed into deployable prototypes.
The target users are healthy older adults (65+), experiencing a normal ageing process with gradual physical, perceptual and cognitive decline. Specific issues of dementia, severe physical disability, or illness will not be part of the study scope.
1 Engraving at gate to Woodland Chapel, Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm.