Sunday, October 16, 2016

Culture and Community Design Studio

Following are the individual in-progress works for the culture and community design studio in MArch Sem1 2016, arranged in a chronological order.

Story Exercise

Right after site analysis week, we were asked to think of a personal story in our life and try to present and express the story with a physical object.

The story that I would like to tell is a story during my primary school times. I was 8 years old and I am in the midst of completing my artwork for a drawing competition. With the deadline approaching, there was this beautiful class and art teacher where she extends 1hours or more in order for me to complete my drawing. During the period of time, there are something on my mind whereby no matter how hard I try, I am not able to express it. This is where the magical moment happens.. she held my hand, slowly and strokes by strokes, she held my hand and left her marks on the piece of drawing submission. Thinking back at the story make me feel really grateful for all the help that I've received from the past, if its not because of them, I would be what I am today. Dear mentors... Thanks so much. :)


Creation 1:

Not Connected (without help)
Connected (with help)

Creation 2:
Right after the submission for creation 1, the next assignment is to turn the physical object into a personal retreat house. Thus the object has been readjusted and added a few element to make it more of a personal retreat house concept.

Upon completion of creation 2, I realized there is some uncanny resemblance of the project with my worldview house design...
Feel free to find out the worldview house of mine over :

Creation 3:

By using a different ground plane, we were told to further imagine the object as a Peranakan Cultural Gallery spaces which could accomodate 30 people in it.

Parti 1 : 

RQ: How many ways are there to recycle history?
RQ: In what way can architecture be indistinguishable from landscape?
RQ: In what way does timelessness transcend anchorage in historical time?
RQ: How do we build memory into buildings?


In an attempt to understand how wangshu answered to the questions above, the object is the responded representation of the collective memory of a historical event taken place in the MArch Sem 1 August 2016 in which the event is regarded as the “Parti 1”.

The whole object displayed are reported to be made from used material, fully sourced locally from the local studio mate around their common decoration in economic design construction process during the event “Parti 1”. The recycling reflects the trend of building sustainable and fusion between ecology and culture. Every piece of material are generously donated from every individual in the group. Each of the material contains their own memory, and it gives the object a “hint of time” without having to wait for aging. It also transforms every part of the object into a unique unrepeatable piece: “every few centimeter is different from every next few centimeter.” (Caleb Ong). By doing so, the object are able to blends into the surrounding, and became part of the landscape of the studio. Traditional local architectural technique, which uses the different type of layers of paper “Zhi Pian” was also used. The technique itself is a common way in the discourse of architectural learning.  With the trend of “showing studio works through digital screen” coming up, the designer Caleb Ong is concerned about the traditional culture of studio would slowly fade out. The traditional culture mentioned are where the people exchanges and expresses their thought about architecture and people through paper and pen.

In an imaginary future setting where papers are to be fully eliminated in studio architectural learning, the object which are neither traditional nor modern serves to tell a story in the history, and are a representative of the collective memories of the group of people in March Sem 1 August 2016.

Additional Images:

Parti 2 :


“..Every bean represent an individual student within the studio in MArch Sem 1 2016..”

The capacity, drive to grow well are shared and shown fairly equally among the green beans. The object highlights the obsessive ideal of perpetual growth of the craftsman on becoming integral to place, along with the myriad force that shape and act on it, from their 1st hour to their 10,000th hours into mastering the crafting of their own. It shows a sense of possibility, opportunity and a sense of not knowing where you are about in the future. It is very important for us to look into the ethic of space creation, be motivated into being good and ultimately, look into creating spaces which we belong to and be proud of it.

“..Motivation is more important than growing talent in consummating craftsmanship..”

Interim 1 :

Parti 3:

"Between the Thresholds"                                                                                           

Threshold between public and private domains are becoming more defined and conflict ensued over the use of this simple, valuable commodity threshold space, the five-foot way.          

The five-foot way, a simple sheltered corridor space with high capacity of activities and accessibility along with layers of history juxtaposed onto one another. It appeals to people of all ages and races as it functions as a place of commerce, festive or a venue for contemplation and rest. It is a threshold that people experience daily, waving to the familiar faces, buying a simple meal along the corridor on the way home or standing by a crowd of elderly, having fun playing on the steps of the five-foot way. It is shared by hundreds of people every day, yet it is felt like a home. However due to economical and urban development, the five-foot way of Kampung Cina has been disrupted, discontinued or neglected by the individual owner as they modified the
five-foot way. Firstly, the level of the floor became irregular along the five-foot way as the people or owner repaved or tiled up the floor. Next, there are people who needed extra spaces for their own uses, they had extended their building either half into the five-foot way or entirely up to the road, disregarded the five-foot way. Lastly, there are also buildings which got demolished and as the owner decided to have a few extra car-parking space, their new building recessed deep from the road and provided another threshold between the thresholds of the five-foot way. The appearance of planter box, car parking next to the road has also greatly discourages and changes the experience walking through the five-foot way. What used to be a very vibrant and busy threshold spaces are now disconnected, partially claimed back and converted into public or private spaces.

Why do people disrupt the five-foot way or having this important mean of circulation disconnected? Does it mean people are less united and connected? Or five-foot way are not that popularly used and appreciated anymore? What can we do to protect this unique cultural identity of Kampung Cina? Or has the current disconnected dynamic five-foot way became a part of the new unique spatial experience of Kampung Cina?

The Busy Five-Foot Way, Kampung Cina

Final Presentation

site introduction prior presentation

My 4 Presentation Board, each consists of 3A1:

Overall view of the presentation board

Design Statement


*To be further updated, stay tuned