Shaping CBD Futures: Free Space + Digital Craft + Performance

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Left: Climatroffice by Foster+Partners 1971

Right: Sundays at HSBC Hong Kong [Photo: David Yu Photography]

Studio Instructors

Kenneth Tracy & Jayendra Shah


Singapore stands out in Southeast Asia for its distinctive modernist and contemporary architecture mixing international influence and local emerging design. This experimental and influential building context exists throughout the city but is concentrated in the CBD. As soon-to-be young practitioners this studio challenges you create beautiful, positive future scenarios for Singapore’s CBD. This will be accomplished by combining placemaking with emerging fabrication technologies and performance-based design. The adjacent Beach Road context, energy flows and circulation will guide the massing of mixed-use proposals. Projects will focus on accommodating private and institutional programs while incorporating public space and social exchange. In addition, students will be challenged to leverage digital tools and representation to give material character and aesthetic presence to the projects.

Beach Road Context and Multi-Use Program
Filling in a gap amongst a literally long line of big, high-profile building experiments our Beach Road site will engage both with the iconography of Singapore’s architectural identity and the flow of life near the threshold between the CBD and the rest of the city. Matching the combination of programs our project will primarily be an office building and public space with retail and other private programs. Starting from circulation and energy flows projects will map and analyse the site to design both a massing and a microclimate. Massing and articulation will be considered at different stages of the design allowing project to narrate the identity and presence of the building in context.

Virtual Craft
To articulate the shared spaces and sculpt the geometry of the proposals, students will simulate and represent material behaviour and manufacturing processes. Though we are unable to prototype or make large models these digital techniques will enable students to create sensual, materially intense 3d models and imagery. Students will select to research either mass timber or knitting and leverage these means of production as a guide for 3d modelling. This research will be supported by workshops demonstrating precedent experiments and design tools. By investigating these low-carbon materials and processes at the scale of a stich or slice projects can create culturally resonant textures, colors and patterns suited to the future of this resilient, multicultural city.

Simulation and Representation Workshops
To integrate new design tools into the studio a series of workshops by collaborating researchers will augment the typical studio process. Outside researchers will present demos, show tier own research work and aid students in follow-up sessions. This group will also act as visiting critics to enrich our review discussions.

Topical Lectures/Discussions on Precedent Buildings and Theory
Jayendra Shah, representing Foster + Partners will act as a critic and help frame the projects through his experience in mixed-use and large-scale international projects. Jayendra and Prof. Tracy will give a series of talks and discussion sessions presenting the theoretical and practical context for the studio project.

Deliverables and Pairing

Students are encouraged to work in pairs to do site analysis, mapping, develop design tools and work on representing their projects. Given the circumstances efforts will be made to allow studio work to be done at home primarily digitally. Embracing this scenario output and deliverables are to be digital renderings and drawings. These final works are to be accompanied by analysis diagrams, environmental modelling data, background research in emerging fabrication technologies and documentation of design tools.