Function must come before aesthetics for hawker centres

The problems Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market is facing is a case of architects designing a building for its aesthetic value, without giving full consideration to its functional purpose ("Hawker centre needs repairs - 10 months after opening"; last Thursday).

For a facility in a public housing environment, where the majority of residents are in the lower- to middle-income group, function must always come before aesthetics, for the simple reason that it fulfils residents' basic needs.

Once the functional role is achieved, then the aesthetic aspect can be catered for, if funds permit.

Perhaps those designing new hawker centres should take a leaf from the book of older architects who designed hawker centres in the past.

Gan Kok Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Function must come before aesthetics for hawker centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe