Our Roots by Jonas Liang

If the name Jonas Liang sounds familiar, it’s because his Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital project had press coverage in the national Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao. Jonas is our next GSA graduate, this time from the Interior Design program.

“Our Roots alfresco dining area in Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre invites the community to enjoy and connect with the vast greenery from the central garden and the mangrove forest canopy, which shades and cools users from the local tropical climate. These forms develop collective intersection of spaces, which was inspired by the mangrove forest ecosystem. Our Roots exemplifies the centrality of food in the Singaporean context; it explores the potential of a food scene as an intersection to connect the younger and older generations. Like how food drives an ecosystem, a vibrant food scene with multi-racial roots is the driving force behind this project. I have drawn inspiration from regionalist architect Muzharul Islam who uses intersections to weave basic geometric structures into a holistic space. I used basic lines to form webs of intersection and these symbolise areas of congregation.”

Jonas will be showing his work at the GSA Degree show at DECK. The show opens on July 9 and runs until July 15.


Exhib! Instant Citizen


Architectural Designer and Artist Fiona Tan in collab with Artist Yang Jie, will be opening a self-initiated art installation titled INSTANT CITIZEN this Thursday at Dialogic Art Space Golden Mile Tower. Instant Citizen is a tongue-in-cheek way of looking forward and discussing what it means to be a citizen and part of a nation.

(from the press release)

We reflect upon things that have inculcated a common sense of citizenship and national identity amongst us. As a young nation, Singapore’s campaigning efforts to promote good social and societal values have sometimes been perceived as overly sterile, dogmatic, intrusive, and even inimical to the natural development of citizenship.

But is it really?

In this work, we explore the intersection of top-down social control and inter-individual/ communal friction, examine the complex relationship between personal freedom and the greater good of the collective and enter an alternative reality where machines and systems take over the role of producing Instant Citizens. Rather than proposing an answer, the work is intended as a question mark- to inspire further dialogue and appreciate the values and mechanisms that make any country, a liveable and lively home.

We have been working on this show since a year ago and the show would mark our first collaboration where the artwork would bring together our individual strengths in art, construction and architecture.The work consists of a series of implausible and tongue-in-cheek everyday furniture that is deliberately designed to engage with its users in a humorous fashion and to ‘train’ them into good behavior.

Separately, both Yang and myself have been involved in a number of high profile art shows such as artwork with the People’s Association,Youth Olympic Village, Joo Chiat OH! Open House as well as the Southeast Asian Arts Festival, London.

We have kickstarted the show with an invited pop-up preview at the National Design Centre in Nov 2015, where two of seven of the pieces were exhibited in conjunction with the Fifty Years of Singapore Design Exhibition. A public art workshop was also hosted as part of the fringe event.



Event! No Man’s Land, An Immersive Theatre Experience

(from the press release)

Get thrown into a labyrinthine twilight journey through Joo Chiat and be subjected to challenging conditions in OH! Open House’s first-ever immersive theatre experience — No Man’s Land.

Guests will find themselves in the centre of interwoven narratives, coming face to face with people that they might never meet in their daily lives. The journey begins at a bar in Joo Chiat. Guests then have to find their own way to a few other secret locations, culminating in the finale of a transformed shophouse.

While art lovers may see OH! as the quirky art walkabout, No Man’s Land is a completely different production. There are no volunteers sharing second-hand stories. Instead, OH! constructs elaborate environments that put guests in close proximity with the neighbourhood’s denizens. Fact and fiction is blurred into a parallel universe that evokes the lost seas of Joo Chiat.

22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 January 2016 from 6pm. Click here for info and tickets. No Man’s Land is part of the Singapore Art Week.


Architecture and the Architect: Image-making in Singapore

(from the press release)

An intimate project, this publication arises out of an anxiety towards the fast-changing built landscape of Singapore. Its objective is to look at place, memory and nostalgia through architecture, while attempting to understand the images of Singapore in the collective minds. How do we, as agents and recipients of the built environment, come together to decide the landscape that generations after our own would inherit? We have gone about assembling individual memories of architects and users who are both, in their own ways, image-makers of the city. The result is a collage of both the physical and the sensory coming together to inform something about a spirit of intersecting times.

In its most celebrative tone, the images and anecdotes in this book recognize what we have. Yet, this is not meant as an evasion of criticality. Instead, we encourage readers to take an unprejudiced look at this city we call Singapore, before searching for their own meaning of place. We see this publication as a tribute, as well as a reminder of the choices we make to strengthen our national identity. The publication features fourty buildings in a diversity of styles that were built in different decades — shopping malls, offices, instituitional spaces, public housing and private residential developments. Theses featured buildings sit alongside two republished essays—by veteran architects, William Lim and Alfred Wong, respectively — and eight new interviews with architects and an architecture photographer based on their works in Singapore. Lastly, anecdotes on the ground from residents, tenants, shopkeepers and security officers have been inserted throughout the pages of the publication to complete this collective gathering of voices.

Editor and Writer: Virginia Who
Design: Do Not Design
Associate Photographer: Beton Brut
Contributing Photographer: Darren Soh

This project is supported and partially funded by the iRememberSG Fund of the Singapore Memory Project. Click here to get your hands on a copy.


Book Spot! Casting Architecture

“This book is a powerful example of how education engages deeper issues of learning through thinking, in an exercise that puts design and making with a plastic material to the functions of sun, shadow, privacy, and moving air.” Kevin Mark Low, Author of small projects.

An almost forgotten art, the Ventilation block has a long history as a traditional building module in tropical regions. It provides climatic comfort, protection and architectonic a continuous application of modules.

Casting Architecture rediscovers the formwork’s beauty in a continuous application of modules, designed by AKICON 2012 | Year 02 architecture students from the department of Architecture at NUS.

(from the press release)

Casting Architecture shows the ventilation block as a unique tropical building element. Precast concrete pieces form not only walls, but also create, wonderfully fluent forms. By combining traditional principles with new, advanced building technologies, this studio generates excitement from old ideas and new products. The results are lightweight concrete screens with minimal materials, rich with tectonic reliefs, including fascinating forms and patterns. As homogeneous facades, they create a dramatic interplay of contrast with light. With each wall, the architect shows a unique construction expression.

“The collection in this book is the result of student experimentation with variations of the humble precast ventilation block. It is a powerful example of how education engages those deeper issues of learning through thinking, in an exercise that puts design and making with a plastic material to the functions of sun, shadow, privacy, and moving air. Some of the work has prioritized the effects of shading over those of ventilation, while others have devised beautifully intricate interlocking systems to the sacrifice of constructional ease. There are those, fully assembled, that provide for all the gracious subtlety building elevations strive for, while handling structural stability with somewhat less aplomb. A precious few strike that delicate balance between fabrication, assembly, aesthetics and function. Whatever their individual differences, strengths or weaknesses, a thread of continuity binds all the projects herein with vital relevance to a comprehensive architectural education, and as an indispensable exercise in thinking. Each and every constructed block and collective assembly has engaged in varying degree, that flow of thought which occurs when a mind works with its hands, and by virtue of direct application, makes one ask appropriate questions that go beyond the typical exploration of creative form, prioritizing instead, an attempt to design relevant form as a consequence of critical content.” — Kevin Mark Low.

Casting Architecture: Ventilation Blocks is available at Amazon, Kinokuniya, Basheer, Asia Books and APD.


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