This semester-long project is split into two part: the first part was a studio project, in conjunction with the Maritime Port Authority (MPA), to do a masterplan of the ‘third finger’ of the proposed Tuas port. The second part was an individual project to design a building as part of the masterplan where the students were free to design their brief.
Singapore’s rising land value has chased the Port of Singapore – currently situated on prime land – to the ‘end of Singapore’ at Tuas, a land that is still in the midst of reclamation; a man-made tabular rasa.
According to the Foreshore Act, any form of development of the coastline should be reserved for public access and use. This rebuild of the port is an opportunity to create a public spectacle, one where nature in the form of mangroves entwines with the machine-esque image of the port operations.
So as to not compromise the land required by the port authority, the original port organisation was questioned and redesigned to compact the operations. The resulting excess space is to allow mangroves to grow and thrive, juxtaposed against the landscape of machines.
To balance between both public accessibility and the strict off-limits imposed by the port activities, an elevated megastructure rises above the gantries and the containers. The infrastructure consists of a three-layer space frame supported by circulation cores placed at intervals. Roads and the Light Rapid Train (LRT) system runs through it, and buildings and spaces can be injected into the space frame and be part of the spectacular landscape.
This project is a critique of the campus life of Singapore’s universities. Students are still largely treated like juveniles with restrictive campus laws. This sanitised environment is detrimental to students’ experimentation and freedom of expression.
In bid to make sense of the site’s detachment from the mainland and the infrastructure’s detachment from the ground, a liberal art college is proposed where an alternative ‘beer pong’ campus life with unrestricted freedom is advocated.
This project uses the element of the wall. Fundamentally, the wall is meant to enclose and define a space; the establishment of an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’.
Inhabitable walls surround the entire campus, shielding the campus activities from the public eye – and hence, scrutiny – giving the students the freedom to be chaotic. The elevation of the structure allows for the inner college spaces to be ‘dropped down’ and be freed from the claustrophobic grip of the enclosing walls, whilst retaining the privacy.
This project is an experiment in an extremely different campus life. One where absolute freedom reigns; an underground campus, where love, experimentation, drugs, learning, sex, exploration, alcohol, open-mindedness serve as petri-dishes for the cultivation of the next generation of Singaporeans.