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 Singapore. 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, WOHA 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 WOHA’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
The Challenge ARCHITECTS SAVE THE WORLD AND BRING JOY TO THE MILLIONS 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.
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: DON’T PANIC! SLARTIBARTFASTING SINGAPORE 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.
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.