Jackson Tan/ Alex Sun
“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow”
With the reveal of plans to revitalise Somerset Belt area as a youth precinct within Orchard Road, Youth‐Topia seeks to explore the boundaries and intersections of architecture and programmes to create a unique civic space for Singapore’s youth. This space should inspire and celebrate the idea of Singapore’s youth in public space, while also catalysing new interactions and possibilities in the city. Within this urban environment setting, students are invited to shape the ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ aspects of a civic space and devise ways to expand its role into a venue for art, creative expression, public programming, and education. Eventually, it will be a space designed by youth (that’s you), for the youth.
Students are encouraged to challenge the notion of ‘architecture’ and design/alter new or existing permanent architecture, temporary follies, transportable urban elements that would facilitate a wide variety of functions and programmes. This inevitably requires careful consideration of functions, users and operations that will support and activate the physical domain.
Given the multi‐dimensional and dynamic nature of youths, and social habits that tend to revolve around evenings and weekends, students must also consider usage cycles and behavioural patterns that change dramatically between day & night, and across various times of the year. This shared space for youths, while serving a critical social function, must be sustainable ‐ programmes need to be sustained, facilities must be maintained, and entrepreneurial ventures must be feasible. A holistic approach to the brief is greatly encouraged with the aim to entice partnerships of private sector, authorities, young people and the community to form a dynamic four‐way, inter‐connecting relationship that can drive the proposal.
Our brief will be centred around the 4,000sqm Youth Park in Singapore which includes The Red Box (a purpose‐built centre for Youth Corps Singapore named after Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s famous red briefcase) and The Red Bus. In line with the recently revealed placemaking masterplan for Somerset Belt, the proposed site offers a unique opportunity to connect to Orchard Road, Singapore’s main shopping street, while responding to the contrasting residential context along Devonshire Road. This site is also a key node in the Somerset Belt precinct with existing infrastructure and communities that can be built upon.
Students are to expand their understanding of architecture and take on the role as ‘The New Architect’ – an archiprenuer who can redefine traditional architecture discipline to identify, formulate and create new opportunities. Apart from working on design brief, students will be introduced to the world of business and financial disciplines such as business structuring, financial accounting, fund raising and financial risk management in realistic settings. These new knowledges should complement and enhance the archiprenuer in exploring his/ her architectural narratives of youth, community, culture, and public space from multifaceted angles to arrive with a plausible proposition.
Well thought through architectural propositions grounded with financial thinking. Individual’s imagination, vision and diversity are highly encouraged within the studio. The relationships between ideas, materials, places, environment, sustainability, political life and the contemporary everyday will be our focus. Seminars and critical debates through open reviews and tutorials, and an osmosis of ideas and techniques in the studio are vital aspects of the studio’s culture.
Precedent Studies/ Introduction to Placemaking/ Introduction to Financial disciplines
Students will be task to analyse and document relevant precedent projects through the lens of placemaking – Focus will be on Linkages and Access/ Comfort & Image/ Users & Activities/ Sociability/ Sense of community/ Time based Quality. A series of 1hr seminar on Financial Discipline will be conducted by Alex Sun from week 1 to week 10
Site Analysis/ Introduction to Financial disciplines
Studio will collectively investigate and map the site using multiple layers of qualitative and quantitative data. Place making workshops and lectures will be conducted in parallel to provide further space evaluation techniques.
Place Vision/ Introduction to Financial disciplines
Using insights from precedent studies and site analysis, students will work in pairs as archiprenuer to generate narratives and design proposals for the Youth Park. Key knowledge from financial discipline seminars should be applied as part of the design process.
Place Performance/ Business Plan
By working at a scale of 1:20, construction details and material selections will be crafted to enhance both users’ experience and overall design quality. In parallel, the archiprenuers will review the schemes using their unique business plan to arrive at a holistic design proposition.