THE BURDEN OF THE 21st CENTURY ASIAN ARCHITECT
To practice architecture in contemporary Singapore – to actualise an architecture that might be comprised of something more than the mandatory maximisation of the floor space in computer-designed towers – is an occupation reserved for those with a romantic and idealistic, yet stubborn and pragmatic outlook. Picking at the scraps cast aside by an economic collective that prescribes the protocol of expeditious development, a small architectural practice now operates at a level where icon-building is unlikely, but innovation and experiment is possible. The financial constraints of a small-scale public or commercial project often demand an ingenious turning-water-into-wine response, an architectural solution that can deliver the functional pre-requisites whilst abstaining from the generic structural formulae and homogenous appearance of the prevailing corporate architectural model. This is architecture as it was once popularly envisaged – a process of creative give-and-take involving the client, the context, and the citizen – undertaken by a practice for whom every project is special, and personal.
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