Singapore returns to global architecture exhibition

The centrepiece of the Singapore Pavilion is a grid-like display of 81 customised glass lanterns, each featuring a model of an HDB building and three illuminated photographs of the homes of ordinary Singaporeans living in public housing.
The centrepiece of the Singapore Pavilion is a grid-like display of 81 customised glass lanterns, each featuring a model of an HDB building and three illuminated photographs of the homes of ordinary Singaporeans living in public housing.PHOTO: VIABIZZUNO

Just months after being designated a Unesco Creative City of Design in December last year, Singapore will be among 88 participants from 37 countries at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition (Biennale Architettura 2016) in Venice, Italy, from May 28 to Nov 27.

Following a four-year hiatus from the biennale, this year's Singapore Pavilion will present Space To Imagine, Room For Everyone, an exhibition that goes behind the Republic's meticulously planned cityscape to showcase the role citizens have played in co-creating an innovative and socially harmonious society.

The presentation is in response to the primary theme of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, Reporting From The Front.

Showcased in three segments, titled People And Their Homes, People Working The Land and People Engaging The City, the selection of works aims to uncover the creativity that is not only inherent in domestic life but also in the many local initiatives that have shaped the physical environment. It marks Singapore's fifth appearance at the exhibition since 2004.

The centrepiece of the 240 sq m exhibition is a grid-like display of 81 customised glass lanterns, each featuring a model of an HDB building and three illuminated photographs of the homes of ordinary Singaporeans living in public housing.

The 243 photographs used in the exhibition were chosen from more than 2,000 images, taken over a period of three years by architect and co-curator of the Singapore Pavilion, Mr Tomohisa Miyauchi.

IN HARMONY

Singapore's presentation emphasises how the built environment is intertwined with people by outlining the frontiers that need to expand to improve the quality of life. By helping the community to take ownership and participate in the development of their surrounding landscape.

MR JEFFERY HO, executive director of DesignSingapore Council and commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion, on the inspiration behind the exhibit.

Complementing the domestic scenes that form the backbone of the exhibition are artefacts and interview footage by various organisations, such as the Goldhill Gardening Club and Nature Society (Singapore). These tell the stories of citizens who have taken actions to shape their home environment in innovative and productive ways.

Commissioned by the DesignSingapore Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information, the exhibition was curated by the Department of Architecture of the National University of Singapore.

Mr Jeffery Ho, executive director of DesignSingapore Council and commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion, said: "We wanted to turn Singapore's cityscape inside out and highlight some of the internal 'battles' citizens face behind the walls of a modern metropolis, such as the challenge of co-creating a harmonious social identity.

"By helping the community take ownership and participate in the development of their surrounding landscape, we will be able to foster emotional connections and shared memories of the city with its people."

The Singapore Pavilion will be at the Sale d'Armi building in the Arsenale region.

It is open for public viewing, and details about opening hours and ticketing prices can be found at http://www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/tickets/

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Singapore returns to global architecture exhibition'. Print Edition | Subscribe