A look into the future

Join a discussion about food security in Singapore at a talk organised by Open Farm Commu- nity. Archifest organisers (from far right) Mr Lee Zhi Jie, Mr Sri Saravanan Subramanian and Mr Chio Wen Tian at the Singapore Institute of Architects' office,
Archifest organisers (from far right) Mr Lee Zhi Jie, Mr Sri Saravanan Subramanian and Mr Chio Wen Tian at the Singapore Institute of Architects' office, which will be the venue for this year's Festival Village. PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Join a discussion about food security in Singapore at a talk organised by Open Farm Commu- nity. Archifest organisers (from far right) Mr Lee Zhi Jie, Mr Sri Saravanan Subramanian and Mr Chio Wen Tian at the Singapore Institute of Architects' office,
Join a discussion about food security in Singapore at a talk organised by Open Farm Commu- nity. PHOTO: OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
Join a discussion about food security in Singapore at a talk organised by Open Farm Commu- nity. Archifest organisers (from far right) Mr Lee Zhi Jie, Mr Sri Saravanan Subramanian and Mr Chio Wen Tian at the Singapore Institute of Architects' office,
Check out Caleb Ming's photography works of vacant properties meant for development in an exhibition or visit the Mahabodhi Monastery (above) near Bukit Timah in a tour. PHOTOS: CALEB MING, MULTIPLY ARCHITECTS
Check out Caleb Ming's photography works (above) of vacant properties meant for development in an exhibition or visit the Mahabodhi Monastery (left) near Bukit Timah in a tour.
Check out Caleb Ming's photography works (above) of vacant properties meant for development in an exhibition or visit the Mahabodhi Monastery (left) near Bukit Timah in a tour. PHOTOS: CALEB MING, MULTIPLY ARCHITECTS

Ninth edition of Archifest wants to discuss Singapore's changing urbanscape

Architours, where visitors are taken to important buildings around town and introduced to their designs, is back.

There are eight routes this year to see 23 buildings. They are led by student docents from the National University of Singapore and Singapore University of Technology and Design and, in some cases, the architects of the projects.

For example, visitors can explore the Hwa Chong Cultural Centre, which is inside Hwa Chong International School in Bukit Timah Road. Built earlier this year, the centre draws inspiration from Chinese landscape paintings.

Others can check out a private residence, a semi-detached house in Bishan designed around the concept of the Golden Ratio, a mathematical principle said to be the formula for beauty.

The tours cost $50 for adults and $42 for students, and is part of Archifest, the annual architecture- related festival organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects.

There's been a lot of looking back this year at what Singapore has achieved, but on the flipside, Archifest wants to ask what we can do looking forward.

MR SRI SARAVANAN SUBRAMANIAN, a co-organiser of Archifest

Now in its ninth edition, it starts next Saturday and runs for two weeks until Oct 10.

After three years of putting up temporary pavilions around town to host the festival, the institute is hosting the event at its newly renovated headquarters in Neil Road.

The space, which comprises two shophouses linked on the inside, is usually used for the institute's in-house events and is its office. It recently went through a year-long overhaul.

Now the space will be open to the public and branded as the Festival Village during Archifest, hosting exhibitions, installations, conferences and film screenings.

Highlights include The Light Painting Workshop by photographer Sean Yeo from The Beautiful Strangers, where participants can use 200 LED lights to make colour patterns.

Also check out the documentary 50 Futures - made by the institute with The Puttnam School of Film and Lasalle College of the Arts - featuring interviews with 50 people on how they see their homes, public spaces and workplaces of the future.

There are also fringe events outside the Festival Village, such as a coastal clean-up by the Nature Society (Singapore); a poetry slam on "visions of the future" at BluJaz Cafe in Bali Lane; and a talk about how workspaces will change at The Working Capitol, a co-working space in Keong Saik Road.

The festival is helmed by three architecturally trained directors: Mr Lee Zhi Jie, 29, from RichardHO Architects; Mr Chio Wen Tian, 27, from DP Architects; and Mr Sri Saravanan Subramanian, 29, from Ong&Ong.

This year's theme is What Future?, which hopefully will spark off discussions about Singapore's changing urbanscape.

Mr Sri Saravanan says: "People have been celebrating SG50 the whole year. There's been a lot of looking back this year at what Singapore has achieved, but on the flipside, Archifest wants to ask what we can do looking forward."

The trio also want the festival to reach out to those outside the architecture industry, allowing them to learn more about the profession and find out what goes on behind the scenes of a building project.

Mr Sri Saravanan adds: "Architecture is not just limited to design itself. It's also about how to plan a better city, research about materials and historical research. That's what we want to promote.

"We want people to see how architecture influences their lives."


Events to catch at Archifest

At the Festival Village (79 and 81 Neil Road); free admission

• Plot by Caleb Ming

What: For this exhibition, photographer Caleb Ming went around Singapore with a 3m-tall tripod and a four-step ladder to document vacant properties earmarked for development. Some of these spaces used to house cemeteries, airports, railroads and army barracks.

When: Next Saturday to Oct 10, 9.30am to 8.30pm

• The New Good Old Days

What: Computer graphics and visual effects bring demolished buildings back to life - at least in the virtual world. See how familiar spots such as the National Theatre, Clifford Pier and Big Splash fit in with newer buildings today in this digital exhibition.

When: Next Saturday to Oct 10, 9.30am to 8.30pm

• We Build This City - Children's Craft Workshops

What: Children get to play architect as they make mini models of what they think cities will look like in the future. They can take home the models they make.

When: Oct 9 and 10, 3 to 6pm

Elsewhere:

• Architours

What: These tours give visitors a peek into 23 architectural gems of Singapore. Hop on a bus to see places such as Mahabodhi Monastery by Multiply Architects in Lorong Kilat and The Cranes, a multi-shophouse project in Joo Chiat by architecture firm Ong&Ong. The tours are co-curated by the Singapore Institute of Architects and The Architectural Society of National University of Singapore, where the guides are from.

When: Next Saturday, Sunday and Oct 3 and 4, various times and locations

Admission: $50 (adults), $42 (students)

Info: Go to www.archifest.sg to book tours

• International Coastal Clean Up Singapore by Nature Society (Singapore)

What: Do your bit for the environment by pitching in for this clean-up. The mudflats, which are part of the north-western coast of Singapore near Kranji, are a hot spot for researchers. Wildlife such as egrets and horseshoe crabs can be found there.

Where: Mandai mudflats

When: Next Sunday, 3.30 to 6.30pm

Info: Register at www.archifest.sg by tomorrow. Successful applicants will receive details of the event via e-mail. Admission is free.

• Activities by Open Farm Community

What: Open Farm Community is a collaboration involving the Spa Esprit Group, chef Ryan Clift of Tippling Club and Edible Garden City, a food garden specialist.

Edible Garden City's co-founder Bjorn Low will facilitate a discussion titled The Future Of Food, SG100 Edition, about food security in Singapore. Places for the 2pm event is on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a farmers' market after the talk where you can buy local fresh produce and handcrafted products.

Where: 130E Minden Road

When: Next Saturday, from 2pm

Info: Go to www.archifest.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2015, with the headline 'A look into the future'. Print Edition | Subscribe