Singapore 2050 Masterplan / WOHA

Bay of Tides
Bay of Tides

As part of the Icsid World Design Congress 2009, “Design Difference: Designing our World 2050”, WOHA spearheaded a vertical studio to explore future scenarios for .

The task that the studio posed themselves was to make Singapore safe from rising sea levels while shrinking the ecological footprint of the country to the size of the island. The projects are testing new cross-programmed infrastructure, urban and architectural typologies to address the pressing issues of water, food and energy security. Proposals include residential power plants, multilevel factory / agri-villages, and resort dykes.

The output is manifold: With partners NUS, obilia and Black Design, created a 5 minute newscast from the year 2050, a complete (“commemorative”) paper-print issue of a newspaper of the same day and a whole series of memorabilia of the new world (t-shirts, calendars, postcards, etc). An exhibition in ’s gallery complements the congress contribution and presents the studio projects from NUS architecture students.


Architects: WOHA / Richard Hassell, Wong Mun Summ, Schirin Taraz-Breinholt, Daniel Fung, Khajorn Jaroonwanit, Amod Tikhe
Location: Singapore
National University of Singapore (NUS), Student team: Richie Chan Li Qi, Chen Zhong Xian, Chen Zi Chao, Gilbert Cher, Konnie Kao Shu Lian, Owen Lam, Thierry Lye Yee Pei, Neo Di Sheng, Sng Poh Liang, Tracy Tan Wen Xian, Zakiah Bte Supahat
NUS Tutor: Tsuto Sakamoto
Studio Coordinator: Hans Tan
Digital Rendering: Obilia, Art Direction by Terence Bong
Concept Art: Kai Lim of Imaginary Friends Studios
Graphics and Layout: Black Design
Video Production: Monochromatic Pictures
Make-up: Makeup Forever
Talents: Keila-Anne Droyd, Alan Lau, Tan Yi Qing
Print: Dominie Press
Project Year: 2009

Jurong Plantations
Jurong Plantations

The Challenge


WOHA’s Design2050 studio humbly declares that architects and urban planners re-emerge from oblivion and return to their roots of benevolent megalomania.

We attempt to save the world.

In order to do so, we focus on the two things that we know best:

The creative expertise of our profession, which historically has developed concepts for new societies – at times translated into stone and mortar (or steel and glass) at times immortalised in international archives and galleries as “paper architecture”

Our home planet Singapore, apotheosis of planned renewal and radical make-over. Our small but notoriously efficient city state, invented in less than 40 years, is the perfect petri dish for a makeable future.

Sun City
Sun City

Together with NUS and partners blackdesign and obilia, WOHA will develop and present architectural and urban concepts for future Singapore while addressing challenges with worldwide significance.

In our future scenario we prepare for the worst and aim for the best:

Singapore in 2050 is faced with a drastic sea level rise.

Singapore in 2050 is confronted with increased population figures.

Singapore in 2050 is also a much better place to live in than ever before.

The Proposal:


In Douglas Adam’s 1979 science fiction comedy “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Slartibartfast, from the planet Magrathea, is a designer of planets. His favourite part of the job was creating coastlines, the most notable of which were the fjords found on the coast of Norway on planet Earth, for which he won an award.

East Coast Parkway
East Coast Parkway

In the spirit of seeing a country as simply a large design challenge, we renovate Singapore for the massive changes of the coming century.
We make the island safe from rising waters while testing different new cross-programmed infrastructure, urban and architectural typologies to address our pressing issues of water, food and energy security. Proposals include residential power plants, multilevel factory / agri-villages, and resort dikes.

Rather than seeing change as a calamity, we find opportunities for joy and delight, and say “Don’t Panic!” – let’s hitchhike a ride to our best possible future.

Cite: Saieh, Nico. "Singapore 2050 Masterplan / WOHA" 06 Dec 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 May 2015. <>
  • bill

    Looks like something coming out of Final Fantasy or something.

  • Panos

    (to Bill) haha! indeed!

  • Tosh

    It is easy to talk about the horrible future from the past (or present that is).

    Let’s see what they actually will do.

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  • flavin

    Wooaa look like a new world

  • Juni

    Happy, shiny, healthy beautiful ecological land ! Just like actual Singapore.

    • james

      yeah, all except happy

    • james

      you are right with your comparison though.
      Singapore is one of only a few cities in the world that this sort of vision almost seems plausible.

  • P.Burke

    what i concern is how much percent of this plan is feasible.
    I mean, all these pictures are rendered fantasitic, but is it fit for our life? Have they consider the life demand? Or just picture a nice image?

  • Manuel

    Interesting. But it’s like a huge salad of all known technology of sustainable energy. It’s a bit too much.I guess in 2050 sustainable energies will be much more efficient ,so we can avoid the waste of land as shown in the image of the windmill farm.

    • Ricardo

      Hi Manuel

      If you study the newspaper p 16-17, the windmills are on top of new agricultural farms, which are on top of tech factories, so the land is not wasted, it is used much more effectively

  • Ben

    In my humble opinion…Rather dramatic, fake, unoriginal and western copycat wannabe like a hollywood sci-fi. Oh ya I have seen it in Avatar trailer…. Way too much…Visual execution is pretty today standard but doesn’t stand out. The flying ship make it a joke.

  • Dustin

    how many people tried to scroll down on the newspaper scrollbar?


  • Fav

    Love the optimistic perspective but people are you serious? I really doubt we will have the resources and governing sensibility especially in a super conservative mind-set of singaporeans to execute such an idea. Not even that, the global situation will definately not allow for such extroverted ideals. And sustainable energy? More than energy, if by 2050 we haven even learn to live in a sustainable lifestyle in a social sense, reaching a new realm of tech to support such an idea is practically retarded. sorry for the blunt but its true and people just need to get with reality of what makes our current world go around. Love architecture but at the end of the day are are all just mere tools.

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  • What’s up

    it’s scary to see how powerful the moives are.
    the scenary seems to be somewhere in 2012, or even Avatar.
    OR some other science fiction movies.
    scenario is still featuring high-tech, using tech to heal tech, using tech to heal social problems. i dunt think it is the future way of doing so…
    Why do people believe in the UFO stuff is a symbol of future and put it everywhere…not seems to be our planet!

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