Design Brief

“The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”
Nelson Mandela

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.