Aesthetics is the perfect marriage between form and function. Where Singapore is the setting, the form needs to exist within a set of limitations, the chief of which is space. In a commendable showing, Kampung Admiralty, Singapore's first retirement village, has clinched the "Oscar" for architecture: the Building of the Year award at the World Architecture Festival, beating 535 entries from 57 countries this year. The vertical village of about 100 studio apartments in a plot of just 0.9ha has been described as modest in scale but bold in ambition. It fuses public housing for seniors with healthcare, eldercare, childcare, shopping, dining and gardening facilities, all under one roof. Eye-catching and sustainable, it answers the need to foster bonding among seniors, between their generation and the next and with the larger community. For an ageing society, it's an idea with growing relevance and appeal.
Singaporeans have by now got used to the Government delivering on the ever-pressing necessity to innovate. It does not surprise them any more. But the new shoots of innovation among the youth that came to light last week should prove inspiring. A group of teenagers here have developed apps that Apple has found good enough to list. No small feat: Apple rejects 40 per cent of the over 100,000 submissions every week. Shannen Rajoo, Yee Jia Chen and Axios Yeo, students of the School of Science and Technology, Singapore, developed PortableCL, a Chinese learning app for primary school pupils. Two others, Wylie Quah from Edgefield Secondary and Danil Syrov from Pasir Ris Secondary, created BrushNow that helps people brush their teeth better. Skilled, savvy and focused, they are a good portent. They have been not just benchmarked with the best in the world, but they also relate to their milieu and have understood the constant need to innovate and compete for Singapore.