Grace Sim & Lester Lim
The project’s vision is to create the “streets” for the youths, instead of keeping them off. Through discovering and understanding the site’s character and culture in the past, Stomping Ground seeks to revive the cultural essence of Singapore’s urban art scene and the other subcultures that revolve around it.
The term “stomping ground” refers to a place that is a favourite/habitual haunt for a group of people, which is what we envision for our project for the creatives who are involved in the urban scene. This will in turn create a thriving creative environment that will naturally attract the public to come and discover this space, learning and understanding about these alternative art forms that are often misunderstood as taboo culture.
Coincidentally, Stompin’ Ground is the name of a pioneer hardcore band in Singapore from the 90s, who are also closely tied to the underground scene in Singapore.
Ultimately, Stomping Ground is a project that brings back the Youth Park’s exciting cultural scene from the past, and propels it to the present day as a favourite haunt for the youths and a point of interest for tourists and locals alike.
The origins of graffiti started in the 1990s and quickly gained popularity and attention among many youths in the past. Graffiti was amongst other popular youth gathering activities like dancing, skateboarding, eating, jamming, and painting. Sometimes, weekly gigs and events are initiated by the youths themselves. The Youth Park was a popular spot for holding these activities throughout the years, including a significant milestone when youths were allowed to paint on the Red Box building.
It was unfortunate that there were several graffiti-related incidents which sparked political tensions around the topic of vandalism. The dissolving graffiti culture is evident in recent years as more youths today had turned to digital cultures and social media for expression. There are potential benefits in reviving this art culture, even integrated with augmented reality, to allow youths to come together.
Within the site, there is a graffiti trail guiding them to a wide range of graffiti types. This trail has a strong potential to be further extended and developed to cultivate a strong youth scene in the Somerset region as it is strategically located between Scape and Somerset Skate Park which are popular spots for youth events, gatherings, and activities.
The project hopes to adopt a bottom-up approach culture with the youths as the starting point, providing them with a space to boldly be creative, and meet like-minded people. Complementing subcultures such as food, music, and sports would be integrated seamlessly to create a more diverse experience. The combination of profit-generating and free public programs creates a self-sustaining system, complementing one another, economically and socially.
These programs come together, strategically allocated at different regions mirroring and responding to its immediate surrounding contexts. The site thus absorbs programmatic energies externally and extends them towards itself, offering itself as a centralization space bridging multiple themes and forming interactions within and beyond the site.
Stomping Ground aims to bring out a holistic and all-rounded experience of the graffiti culture, similar to a graffiti hub, and offers different ways for people to express creativity and share their stories. It breaks down graffiti art into various types such as stencils, blockbusters, stickers, and murals. Each of these graffiti types could interest people differently. Interesting riffs off traditonal graffiti include Up-cycling Paint Art, which involves painting over old unwanted material, and the Augmented Reality graffti experience, where the public can view their graffiti projected onto the surface of the Red Bus via an AR appliction on their phones.
Modular units of basic rectangular panels were used to build the splines which integrate easy construction and assembly approaches. These panels are put together and carefully curated with angles and sizes for different purposes such as workshop spaces, bouldering walls, and storage spaces to become larger modules designed for specific purposes.
A series of splines arrayed across the site with varying heights and spatial qualities was designed architecturally which visually portray a hint of changes in energy and intensities at the site. Each of these splines was uniquely designed to cater to specific programs and then placed adjacent to one another, spanning across the site displaying a landscape of overlapping layers similar to the imagery of waves in an energy field.
Standard, modular structural modular elements were used in the module construction for easy procurement. The ergonomically sized components feature lock-in joints, making it convenient to assemble the modules by hand, without the need for high manpower and machinery.
The view from *Scape– a series of undulating strips.
Writer’s Alley Bar where many youths, be it skaters, dancers or graffiti artists would hang out weekly and find out about local gigs/events.
Graffiti Ledges and AR Canvas graffiti ledges double up as standing tables for visitors to the Redbus café, which also serves as a surface for visitors to project graffiti into it via AR.
Jamming Studio & Stage jamming studio by day, stage by night, the flexible space is fronted by a ‘flooding ground’ of landscaped steps, where crowds can sit and watch the show.
Open Lawn & Bouldering Zone a public garden next to open workshop modules which give the public a peek into the graffiti process, with bouldering walls on its outer surface.
Mural Alley an homage to the OG graffiti wall where many local artists honed their craft, ground planes fold up like waves, forming new, taller surfaces for the artists to paint on.
Sustainable Art Display a space for community powered activations like “trash to art” programs, where discarded waste can be reused as a canvas for graffiti works, and displayed.