Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Golden Mile Complex

As a child, I never found this view breathtaking - the Oasis and magnificent (in my memory) Kallang Theatre on the left, our beautiful skyline to the right. The lovely breezes that wash over you as you overlook the water, dotted with its frequent visitors – sea sports enthusiasts. Running around on the balcony helping to water the plants, the splendour that splayed out in front of me was yet another backdrop of my life. The countless nights we came up to this apartment to watch fireworks and to play over the weekends, it never struck me as anything spectacular. To me, this was just a second home to run around in.
Now all grown up, I walk through the corridors and up the stairs with the spread of Beach Road all around me, and I inevitably notice the depth to which the internal atrium slopes, a complex structure of simple terraces. This lovely complex with all it’s Thai authenticity is a fascination in itself, and a joy to visit. For all it’s beauty, I never took notice of it until it was almost lost in the Nicoll Highway collapse. Now, once again I am forced to face the possibility of losing this, a place of many fond memories as developers threaten to take over. As an architecture student now, I look upon this revolutionary building with nothing but awe at the boldness and audacity of its creators. They took the leap to create something ahead of their time, ahead of Singapore’s. And I thank them for that. I can only hope and pray that its significance is likewise felt by others.

Choo Shih Pin Tiffany

Monday, October 30, 2006

Domes @ Old Supreme Court

It was amazing when I started studying the floor plan of the old Supreme Court last semester and found out that there were actually two domes in Supreme Court. Besides the taller one we usually see from the outside, there is actually another one hiding inside the building - the library. After visiting the interior of the Supreme Court, the two domes officially became my favorite place.
The most wonderful thing was when I stepped into the two domes was the experience of the light and shadow inside the domes. The blue sky outside the windows which surrounded the library dome left with me endless wonder, and the sunlight shined into the empty huge steel structure made me feel empty yet full. Empty in hands, but full with intangibles.
Another amazing experience was climbing up the spiral staircase into the huge dome. It was hard to imagine that such a huge dome, the only accessible route was this narrow spiral staircase. While I was climbing I raised my head, and saw the little blue from the hole that the staircase was leading to, was truly touched. How amazing the nature could sneak into every space that we had been trying to create, intentionally, or unintentionally by us. Even in this huge artificial form, somehow a symbol of a period of human history, which was full of sentiments and traces of human beings, the nature, could play a part. It is changing thing in this permanent still structure, yet it permanently exists.

Song Xiaoxing

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kent Ridge Park

Not many people visit Kent Ridge Park maybe due to its location being away from the city and its dense vegetation. However, this is one of my favourite places and I think it would be too for most nature lovers. It reminds me of Singapore’s history and the nature that still exists in Singapore’s concrete urban jungle. Although it is not the highest point in Singapore, once on top of the park, there is a sense of conquer, superior and dominant. At the same time, the closeness to the sky and the openness of the area makes one feel intimidated and small amidst the trees and vegetations.
The serenity and secrecy of the place makes one feel relax and calm. It is an interesting and quiet space where one is able to listen to the sounds of insects, birds and trees. At night, one can view the city from afar, feel the light breeze on the skin, and smell the air and nature. It is a place to unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of the city and where I can spend some quality time with my close friends. My only fear will be when the new circle line and other future developments are built around the place. Having new architectural interventions will disrupt the ambience and the secrecy of Kent Ridge Park. Thus, I strongly encourage those have not been there to visit the park.

Azizah Bte Sudar
Raffles Institution Boarding School

These four words might not bring forth the best of reactions and imageries from the most of us: school, boarding, institution, and Raffles. However, combining them together, we get Raffles Institution Boarding School, a place where stories of Life unfold and about which fond memories are told.
A place, that is a home away from home.
Having just celebrated its 10th anniversary, this special place has witnessed thousands of scholars living and growing through their crucial secondary and JC period.
What is so special about the architectural quality of this place is the flexibility that the spaces provide, which encourages vibrant lifestyle as they allow spontaneity and creativity to flourish.
The central courtyard and the surrounding landscaping are the favourite places for boarders to gather, celebrate birthdays and occasions like Chinese New Year and the mooncake festivals, practice for performances, dine, study, play a game of frisbee, or even use the benches as goalposts for a game of floorball.
It is also this openness of the central courtyard that allows sunlight to illuminate all the rooms during the day, which further encourages a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
I find the richness of the architectural qualities of the place to contain vast amount of learning opportunities to me as an architecture student. Indeed, the boarding experience is always an enriching and life-changing one.

Ivan Novaleo Bunarsih

Friday, October 27, 2006

Waterfront @ Esplanade

The Esplanade, a S$540 million project undertaken by renowned architecture companies Michael Wilford & Partners and DP architects, possesses an amenity, which by itself, is a jewel that is unrealised by many – the Waterfront.
In times of sadness and despondency, the Waterfront at the Esplanade is the place where I seek inspiration and inner peace. Three major reasons which deemed it unique from any other places is one, its location; two, its functionality; and three, the numerous considerations imbued in it, camouflaged by the simplicity of the façade.
For many people, a popular place to go to during times of depression the beach. Just by listening to the sound of the gentle waves, we could feel a sense of tranquility and serenity. The waterfront provides an entirely similar effect, only in a more tidied urban setting. If one dislikes the urbanised clean touch, one could move further down along the riverbank, where he/she would find a rocky landscape, analogous to the breakwaters found at the East Coast Park.
As one gazes across the river while sitting on the concrete seats by the waterfront, one would come to realise a small, unlit plot of land in a distance. In the night, it would seem like it is there, but not there. Taking a more abstract perspective, one could think of oneself being on a cruise with the fabric covers of Esplanade’s outdoor performance area as its sails, moving steadily towards no man’s land. The small tourist bumboats moving on the river further materialises this illusionary experience.
It was not by chance that the architects came up with the idea of stretching the waterfront in a Northwest to Southeast manner. Such a layout, when coupled with the effects of the Sun, produces portraits, which could not even be found on the best postcards. At sunrise, as the Sun is creeping slowly out of the trees from the opposite side of Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the entrance of the Esplanade is illuminated. The sunrays almost seem to call out “This way please!” The sunset is all the more captivating. At dusk, the Sun would slowly descend behind the towering skyscrapers at Raffles Place. When the conditions are right, one would be able to catch the sight of bright red rays, blasting out in all directions from the back of the skyscrapers, and fading away into the darkening lavender sky. The rays literally seem to be highlighting the heart of the city and bringing life to Singapore’s iconic Merlion.
The waterfront was initially made to complement the “Theatre on the Bay”. However, I feel that it has surpassed its intended purpose. It was developed to provide a seamless link from the architecture to the waters. But in the midst of doing so, it has added colour to our monotonous city and most certainly impacted my life. In my opinion, the Waterfront at Esplanade deserves to be recognised as one of the most “well-designed” public spaces in Singapore.

Leonard Cai
. . . blank . . .

Feelings, memories, and thoughts... All these things come into my mind like a storm as I ask myself about the favorite place I have ever been to. The universe is so big, that it's impossible to know which place is the one. Maybe, somewhere in the future, the best places will come up as the worst ones; or sometimes, millions of people have the same favorite places. In this situation that it has to be about a place in Singapore, which means I should only choose one of those few places I have been to since I came here.
So far as I know, the place I always think of and want to see is my home… maybe it is the natural wish in every human to long for and direct toward somewhere familiar. There you find the peace in your mind and a feeling of belonging.
This picture of a courtyard garden somehow gives me a rather close feeling. Locating on the way from MRT station to terminal 2 in Changi airport, it is the image I would see the first or the last through every flight back home or returning to Singapore. Like there is a friend who will always be there waiting for you though you don’t see her at all time.
For each time passing by it I would stop without a special reason. Standing there looking at it through a large curtain of glass, I couldn’t walk in to see it closer although I really wanted to, afraid to somehow break that beautiful moment. The “white water” seems like coming from nowhere as a tall dark wall suddenly appears in the “higher up” white sky and becomes the water carpet. Trees keep on swinging in the air when the water flows out of the vertical wall and starts bobbing on a horizontal plane under their feet. They altogether look like a moving picture without any sound. As if it wants so much to scream out or in fact it is screaming so loud inside. I keep on wondering what it may talk to me…
It is natural that sometimes there is a “green space” in the heart of a busy city, like a blank in your mind to relax from all the thinking and feeling.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Chek Jawa

I got a chance to explore Chek Jawa and I was enchanted by nature at its purest that one can see and feel in urbanized Singapore. The greenery is unlike the artificial greenery seen in mainland Singapore. The existence of many marine floras and faunas, which most of us will not have a chance to see first hand, probes people to listen and learn from the guide.
I felt at peace with the breath-taking scenery. The amelioration of stress and weariness upon seeing nature and being in nature makes this a wonderful place to be in. However, there are plans to reclaim the land and all this wonderful nature is poised to be removed in 2012. Catch it before it is gone!

Chan Chee Hong
The spirit of the campus.

This is my room in Prince George’s Park (PGP). I have been thinking about what is the place I want to be in the most, the place I feel most comfortable in. And after thinking about it for a long time, I still come to the conclusion that it is my room, a piece of this world where you can, at least temporarily, be lost in yourself. I cannot think of a place I love to be in more. The atmosphere is brilliant. Even though the room is small, the windows which stretch the whole height of the walls allow daylight in wonderfully, making the small room comfortably lit and welcoming to be in. This really brings home to me the importance of providing adequate daylight for comfort in a space. I think it’s important to live close to the school, which is why I absolutely have to stay on campus. I think that positive energy dissipates the further you go away from the school, just like how the vibrant energy dwindles as you move further away from the city. I think this has very important implications, if my opinion about this is right. The whole structure of our country should change. The new towns are doing nothing,
they are just satellite communities of living quarters that will never amount to anything in terms of contributing to the creative energy of our nation. In this age and time when the government is putting so much energy into promoting the arts and making our city a vibrant, ‘renaissance’ one, it should consider how to link the various new towns to the city, spiritually, architecturally. It’s no use to plonk new settlements everywhere on new areas on the map, when they’re so removed and alienated from the energy of the city. I feel nothing when I’m in the so called heartlands. I feel lethargic. I feel meaningless.
In school, I feel the vibrancy, the force which pushes me to move on, to study, to work. The whole atmosphere tells me this is the place I should be in, at this moment in time. When I look out of my window at night, 2, 3, 4am, all I see are lights. In school, no one sleeps at night. Students never sleep at night. This is the spirit of the school, just like the spirit of the city that never sleeps.

Ho See Jia

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pearlbank Apartment
A spectacular Residential Complex since 1970s

I have noticed this unique skyscraper (although it was heavily criticised for being an eyesore sometimes ago) when I was taking SBS bus 33 passing-by Chinatown area 4 years ago when I was just came over to Singapore for my tertiary education. The slender and curve look of the building which sit on top of Pearl Hill gave me the mysterious feeling when I viewed it from the street level. Pearbank private apartment which was completed its construction in 1976, is designed by Tan Cheng Siong of Archurban Architects and Planners. At the time of its completion, being Singapore’s tallest and most dense residential complex, it was hailed as a feat of design and construction. In 2001, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) recognized the design merits of the building, and declared it a "Singapore Housing Icon".
I have never expect that there was a chance for me to get into this significant building (strict security nowadays) until I was designated with the task to help my attached company to do the Baseline Calculation of the whole building in August last year. I visited the building for 3 times, analysed the apartment from the basement carpark to the penthouses which spread from level 36 to 38. I went into the 4 different types of units in this apartment, with photo and on-site measurement; I fully understand the combination of the individual cubes that juxtaposed and interlocking one another. A circle of shops and management and security offices filled the ground level. One particular provision shop’s décor (or lack thereof) will surely bring you back down memory lane to the 1970s.

The building looks very linear and defined from the exterior view, but the internal space is so complicated that I need to spend days to fully understand the flow of levels within the building before I actually get down to the site. All the units in the building are multi split level (like a maze I feel) offering unique generous spaces in a splayed trapezoid shape. The suspended staircase from every units not only act as a 2nd escape either from upper or lower level of the unit, but also act as a feature that contributes to the façade design of Pearlbank. I doubt the external staircase is up to current BCA rules and regulation. I feel so nervous when I walked on the suspended staircase. I was very concentrating on my every single step (about 200mm for the tread where current regulation is min 225mm) when I used that to go down to the lower level or else it might trap and fall......(not the lower floor, but ground floor….imagine walking down the suspended staircase from 25th to 24th story, quite scary!!)

Looking back again the Peralbank Apartment today, although those paint on its walls area really showing its age, I still feel it stands majestically!!!

Tan Kok Ming
Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation
An urban jungle: sights and sounds

The traffic roars pass
She smiles obligingly offering her service
He walks pass, looking doubtfully at a map.
She steps under the shade and sat with a cup of tea
She flipped the page as she seeped her mocha
The “Alice in Wonderland” sculpture stands beside us.
She has a big bump, no wait, she’s pregnant
They stopped and looked at Alice
He bent over with his phone at his ear
Those little blue eyes talking to you, as he gets pushed away.
The wind blows and she brushes her hair across her face
She smiles, he waves, they finally met
They rushed across as the numbers starts to count down
The plasma screen in constant movement just like anyone else
He pulls his shirt, its getting hot.
Two dogs, one in a red slash other in blue.
She plays with her earrings as if in thought
He stares at the giant block that covers the sky as he runs through the morning news
She has her last taste of tea and walked away as her once clean napkin falls to the ground.

Li Ka Yui(Jiayi)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Seletar Airport

I got woken up one morning by my mum to accompany her to fetch my daddy to work. I got lured out of bed by the enticing prata at Jalan Kayu. But what greeted me was the long roads leading into Seletar Airport, making me forget about the prata. The long road leading into the airport almost seems to bring you away from the city life of Singapore into a little village in the countryside. A place with quaint street names as though it were in a storybook - Edgware Road, Mornington Street, The Oval, Haymarket Road etc. and an old fashioned letter box. Everything seems so serene and time seems to pass slower there. Residents cycle freely along the long roads around the estate and dogs prancing on the patches of green. Houses that once belonged to the British army have a charm of its own now. Drive on further and you will reach the runway of the airport where airplanes still do take off. There are also restaurants situated inside the airport, providing one a place to sit, eat and enjoy the beauty of the place. The stillness and charm of this place really captivated me and I do wish that one day I can wake up to a place like this.

Benita Tan
The Bottle Tree Village at Sembawang

The Bottle Tree Village occupies the former Sembawang Sea Sports club, now renovated to fit a seafood restaurant, a small shop that sell small trinkets and such and a playground for kids. It sits far removed from the hectic city life, on the far northern tip of Singapore near Sembawang Park. Even the trip to get there is an ordeal in itself. A narrow gravel lined road through thick foliage, unlit by street lights or guided by reflectors, invites you into the ethereal darkness. And then in the distance you see a tiny light bobbing in the darkness, the torchlight of an old uncle that guides you to your parking space. Then, a sudden explosion of light, as you round the corner and the building reveals itself, bringing you back into a familiar civilization. The seafood restaurant was purportedly quite good so I gave it a shot. The ambience of eating outdoors was wonderful, under the night sky next to the seaside, the far-away lights of Johor across the sea. Never mind that I couldn’t see what was on my plate, the remoteness, the obscurity of place, it all sums up for the ultimate escape from the familiarity that is the city.

Thomas Wong
National Library Building (Central Lending Library at Basement 1)

This place is a sanctuary for me to just leave my worries behind and be lost in the books (mostly comics and novels). I find this place special because once I enter the space, I can feel my burden from the outside world being lifted and all that I am left with are my pure self and my ability to imagine and dwell in the books. Why is this so? I think that when the entire space is at the basement, my visual connection to the outside world, the streets, the cars, the buildings and the noises etc is blocked and all that I could see are the books, the two outdoor gardens and my fellow readers. I particularly like to position myself beside or even lean against one of the glass panels when I am reading, it gives me a special sense of being in that place while my thoughts flee from that area to a wider surrounding through the glass. When I am in this place, I feel protected, secure and I could think of anything without being interrupted, unless, when the library is about to close and I need to decide which book I should borrow.

Leong Mun Chun

Friday, October 20, 2006

Staff Canteen at Changi Airport Terminal 2

Burger King, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, MacDonald’s, T2 Staff Canteen- what do these places have in common? Students of course! Besides chilling out with friends, there is also the “Mugging” Season. “Mugging” Season (September-December) is defined as the critical time period before the O and A levels. Signs that the season has arrived are sightings of teenagers in uniform glued to their seats from day to night, noses stuck in notes/calculations, often with a cup of drink beside them which they sip throughout the whole day. I was one of them. Take a look at my successors!
Naturally, serious “muggers”, like me, will settle for a most conducive space. You do not need to be an architect to know a good space from a bad one. The back of the staff canteen in Changi Airport T2 is secluded, quiet, cooling, and the lighting is perfect for lingering at the spot for long hours. Though the area is just beside a wall of glass, a combination of appropriate horizontal shading device, plant shading, protective film, natural with artificial lighting and suitable air-conditioning created a space that allows the people in it to feel pleasantly comfortable. Let us see what exactly is going on outside.
There are no fanciful designs, no historical layerings, nothing special, just an incidental (or not?) space created with all the right conditions. Even if one was not studying (which by the way has already been banned), one can just sit there alone, and contemplate nothing and everything at the same time away.
Christina Seet Hee Ling

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bugis Street

Bugis, this is a place of youth, energy and density. Parco shopping zone, Bugis junction and Bugis street form a very unique shopping landscape of the city. I like the idea of introducing a street into the shopping complex like Bugis Parco, of course Bugis junction is also a lovely place, but of all these, I like Bugis Street most.
The intensity of shops in Bugis street form a shopping environment connected, intersected or crisscrossed by small streets. There are new shops coming out every month and you can see renovating works frequently. The wire mashes holding different kinds of sales products make the shops almost translucent. You can see shops behind and just walk through one shop to reach another shop. The atrium create a large void above all the small shops, it helps to ventilate the overall congested shops.
I guess the most attracting point of this place is its intimacy to the people, small scale of the shops with raw and random set up of shop interiors. You may find cheap stuffs and interesting small items in a secret corner. You can also see nail beauty shops with long bench semi-exposed to the ‘streets’. I see people with different expressions on their face, very diversified. It is not a “formal” shopping centre, it is free to express. I can even hear young lady singing the latest song while shopping for cute skirts. If you walk in Paragon, this intimacy will be lost in the large volume of space and clean cut of the shop fronts.
The space is lightened up by the shops while the ‘streets’ are dimmed by the crowd. There is no big brand or high-end shops, it is all about discovery. A good counter proposal to the Parco streets, isn’t it?
Wang Kai

Monday, October 09, 2006

'twixt Kampung Glam and Bugis

Scents waft, senses draft
Merges with a cosy site
To flavourful delight

A veil of tranquility struck me as I detached myself from all the hustle and bustle, nesting myself into this neat little street tucked right in the middle of Kampung Glam and Bugis area. For all the modern skyscrapers and confused monstrosities which Singapore has in excess, I find Haji Lane a gem of a find. It has a really intimate gesture about it - a long narrow lane where people and vehicles jostle and brush to get across; a pattern of facades from different origins weaved into an intricate fabric of history; peeling layers of paint seen at face level divulging secrets from a less prosperous era.
I also like how this slice of the past is not being disregarded, but allowed to breathe new air as a vibrant culture of the place has emerged; where high-fashion guerilla streetwear meets Arab tailors meets 2nd hand Japanese denims, where young couples browse through designer furniture, where groups of friends chill out amidst hypnotic Turkish beats with sheeshas emanating fruity odours into the air.
With such surprising colour and verve from this quaint little street, I would urge you to take a walk off the beaten path and explore this place of understated beauty and charm called Haji Lane.

Tan Hong Guan
LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts studio

I could never really understand what is life and what it entails but I do know I love Architecture.
My life really began when I rebelled against my parents and decided to pursue a route less taken. When I was removed from Singapore Polytechnic, I enrolled myself in LaSalle-SIA College of the Arts and so I choose and started my education as an Architect more or less.
The interior space is that of my first studio in LaSalle. It was converted from an old school building. It shows my studio mates trying to piece our individual projects together before submission. You probably cannot see it but it was quite frantic. The interior was white washed almost clinical and the floor concrete screed. It felt really cool coz you feel a certain sense of history. The stories as to what this room experienced when you look at the marks on the floor and the drawings or materials on the wall that the white paint could not really cover.
This room meant a lot to me, it was the place when I first experienced the joy and pains of being an Architecture student, the same room was also the “Killing Grounds” so to speak with all the critique sessions going on. It was also a pleasure room with unofficial majong sessions and the “drunken from Champagne” recovery room when we finish our “visits” at openings of art exhibitions at Earl Lu gallery which is just five minutes away. It was the place that I met good friends and lecturers and had a wonderful time. Thomas Kong, Peter Tay, Peter Chen, Jacinta Neoh, Faris, Mike, Hendra, Jamie, Rong Ren, Tern Yuan, Ben… you Guys ROCK!! It was a place where Architecture first seduced me and is leaving me stranded now.
Sadly, LaSalle is due to move to its new campus next year and the fate of this room and the present campus (Designed by William Lim) remains unknown but I am almost sure it will be town down. A building, a place, a space can never be detached from the memories and feelings of its users. And each place is unique according to one’s experiences. Perhaps that’s the invisible part of Architecture or least one aspect of it. It’s not just the physical and measurable. I can never recreate that place with its people ever again and why should I attempt to. It was for that moment and that moment only.
My favourite place does not exist anymore but I hope to visit my old studio again more or less.
Your life is but a Moment, Live this Moment-Unknown

Chua Co Seng

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Potong Pasir

Food attracts me to places. Here lies one of Singapore’s last stands of ‘old’ places, Potong Pasir (thanks to Mr. Chiam See Tong). Located amongst an area of private houses are these shophouse look-alikes. It occupies only a small area though. What is left are various shops like provision shops or small warehouses and of course a good number of coffeeshops and a hawker centre. Besides good food here like prawn mee, mince meat noodles and crabs (you got to try them though), I love this neighbourhood. Though I do not live there, I frequent the area…to eat, but it never fails to make me feel so at home. The uncluttered five foot way finally feels like a five foot way. Being the only pavement to walk around, I guess everyone loves the shade that it provides so do I and I simply appreciate it, yes appreciate. Though eating here is a tad hot but I just love the contrast of shade and the afternoon sun, I love the occasional breeze if fresh air, I love the smell of food the floats through the street, I love the sound of cooking and cars passing by. There are no squeaky white tiles, tables and chairs that make the food seem pale in comparison. No Bright white lights and no cool and comfortable enclosed spaces that takes away the smell and aroma of the food. I feel natural here. I guess that is my take on the “tropical feeling”. It reminds me of who I am and where am I, a form of identity, somewhere I truly belong.

Lloyd Ng

Monorail Station @ Sentosa

Singapore is quite a small island. Sentosa is way, way smaller. And yet, there are always gems neatly tucked away in some corner, or just slightly off the beaten path. Recently, while on my way to visit Beaufort Hotel for a Southeast Asian History assignment, I spotted one such building – an abandoned monorail station.
The monorail system in Sentosa was opened in 1982 and subsequently ceased operations since 16 March 2005 to prepare for its successor, the Sentosa Express. Many old stations are undergoing renovations to be integrated into the new line, but some, like this particular one, were left out.
Its faded paint and discoloured walls stand out from the rest of the bright, clean facades on the island. The suburban feel is uncanny, like you've suddenly left the touristy island for Chinatown or the outskirts of Johore Bahru. Yet it is strangely peaceful. Memories of past journeys across Sentosa on the monorail, of the people around you at those times, and the slight tinge of regret at the termination of the monorail system.
I remember using the old monorail many times, but I don't ever remember using this particular station. Maybe it was its apparent lack of use that led to its abandonment; which unwittingly led to the creation of an architectural monument to our pragmatic and somewhat ruthless approach towards architecture, and with it, our history and heritage.

Jonathan Yue
Giraffe Cafe

Either in the day or night, Giraffe dinning restaurant gives a various experiences. Giraffe consists of bar and dinning sections. The 2 storey restaurant is located in the middle of the Istana Park. The full height glass windows give all round views from the enclosed interior however enhancing the closeness with the exterior. The square gentle pitched roof constructed with strip of fixed glass, shelter and provides the dinning area with sufficient natural lighting. There are seats around the glass railings that people can enjoy the greenery and city movement.
If I need to choose between the day and night, I will prefer the nightlife in Giraffe. At night, Giraffe transforms into a musical modern world blends with the tropical garden. Although the park is not visible, I still can hear the buzzing sound from the park. The well-design lighting glow up the entire cozy surrounding. The pond which is located beside the outdoor bar creates a sense of lightness. Giraffe is an excellent place for relaxation and slow down the paces of your busy life.

Goh Chee Wee

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fountain at Bugis Junction

Bugis Junction is a place popular with both teenagers and families on weekends. I used to work in this area and spent my break time wondering around between the two shopping centers. Most of the time, I would just sit near the fountain area during the last ten minutes of my lunch break because it’s got good shade and most of all, IT’S FREE!
I find this open space between Parco and Seiyu indeed a remarkable space.
The water fountain in the middle of the open space has become a landmark of Bugis Junction. It is the default meeting place for shoppers and movie-goers.
On weekends, one can easily find children with/without their swimwear on, playing at the water fountain and making friends with other children. Parents socialize while watching their kids play in the water. It’s almost like a playground within the HDB flats except there are no slides and swings whatsoever.
With shoppers rushing between the doors of the two buildings and the sales people returning from lunch at Liang Seah Street just across the road, I find it interesting how this space gathers the two groups of people. They share the same space. Yet in this space, there is no mind about who should be doing what. There is no need for the sales person to be at anyone’s service here. They are all spending their own time, enjoying this very space to themselves.
Also, it is an ideal place for youngsters to spot trends. With Bugis Village nearby, it is not difficult to find teenagers hanging around showing off their latest outfit they bought at a cheap and good deal! They have contributed a fresh energy to the scene of Bugis Junction with their gaudy and ever-changing fashion sense.
In all, this is a comfortable place for people-watching. Everyone sits around observing other people, waiting, waiting to be observed. I believe it is a memorable place for many. For some, they spent their time here passing time with their loved ones. For others, they spent time reflecting and thinking while waiting for their friends to arrive. For them, this amount of short time spent to themselves might just be the most meaningful time spent for the day.

Zheng Xin Jia
Seats at Holland Village

Evening breezes slink down the quiet street, shrubs strung with fairy lights shuddering in their wake. Feel the cool touch of polished wood beneath my palms. Draw my legs up under me; nobody's watching.
Above, the night sky with its pin pricks of light; in the distance, the sounds of merry-making.
Savor the night, in company or solitude.
Bringing a meal out to eat under the open sky is my main memory of this place. The things I enjoy most about this little corner near Holland Village are factors that are present in many of my favorite places: a sense of peace, greenery, the proximity of good food and other essential amenities, and last but not least, a comfortable place to sit.
A place where one can be alone but not feel too lonely.
It is modest; just a few benches on a raised concrete pavement, protected from the elements by a retractable canopy, with only the creepers climbing alongside for ornament. But this is enough.

Li Miaoling
The Esplanade

Esplanade, also known as ‘the Durian’- Theatres on the bay, that presents myriad of local and international performances, located at the waterfront overlooking Marina Bay where it attracts many locals and tourists. Of course, I am also one of them. It is my favorite hangout place during the weekends.
Like others, I sit along the waterfront enjoying the cool gashing wind with the panoramic view of the city skyline that resembles the prosperous Singapore that many people might not have notice. The Wind helps to cool the prickly gigantic durian and its surrounding. I also notice the front of the building facing the main road has water feature on both sides towards the entrance that I feel it somehow ties back to the same ‘language’ as the waterfront with a special feature lying underneath. Close up you will see Circular openings that serve as light box planted at designated locations to allow natural daylight through and into the carpark yet able to prevent heat transmission. Even though incorporating of daylighting will reduce the amount of energy needed for artificial lighting, but excessive of natural daylight will increase the consumption of energy in another way, which is the air-con. For this case, the building covered with spiky sun shading devices that allow for partial sun light along with views, which I think it is an interesting feature that draws my attention. Furthermore, the large volume of space at the entrance creates a grandness feeling when you enter. The overall building though appears like the durian however, comprises these interesting features that one will experience unknowingly. Like me.

Huang Caijin
Entrance at ISEAS

The place I’ve chosen for my blog entry is the entrance at NUS Institute of Southeast Asian Study (I think it was designed by my AR1326-module tutor). I happened to find the building on an afternoon when it was quite hot outside. It was not a trip on purpose. The reason was that: I had never known how the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy looked like, and I was trying to get there and have a look. However on my way there, my eyes were drawn towards the right side of the road, where stood a mysterious red tile-roofed building, hidden peacefully behind a row of coconut trees. I proceeded, and found the building’s name engraved very beautifully on two strips of wood: ISEAS - Institute of Southeast Asian Study. I was quite amazed by the opening entrance and decided to get in (forgetting my own purpose of visiting the Lee Kwan Yew School earlier on). As I passed through the long roofed-entrance, turning on the left, I found the scene that I have here in my picture. It was a really unexpected encounter, full of sensation and wonders. I couldn’t define my feeling at that very moment, although there were many words that I was able to use: warm, intimate, mesmerizing, mysterious etc.(?) But it was true that I really found myself rested by that space. I felt some breeze on my face. I heard the splashing on the water. I saw these koi fish freely swimming around, forgetting all about their outside world. I saw that palm tree casting shadows on the white wall. I saw reflection of the water… No doubt, it was a perfect scene for a hot and humid afternoon! I thought I had fallen in love with the space!
Then naturally, I wanted to proceed and sit down by the pond to watch the fish swimming as usual, but the cleverly designed wooden-floor prevented me from doing so. After a while, I found myself instead rested on the nice-looking chair already placed there, watching the shadows of the roof and the trees on the wall slowly fading out in the late afternoon. For a moment, the space reminded me of some garden in Mexico by one of my favorite architects – Louis Barragan, with the same mesmerizing shadow cast on a white wall, at the end of a long, long water feature. They must have given me the same precise feeling – this feeling, of calm and peace (although I had never been to Barragan’s garden in Mexico). Yes, “they must be the same”, I guess - a feeling that belongs to the tropical’s.
Lingering around the entrance for a while, regretting the peaceful feeling that the space had given me, I reluctantly enter further and explore the other parts of the building as I often do…
Lately that afternoon, the guard saw a young guy trying to climb out of the building from the rear door, hurrying towards the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, while the sun was going to set so quickly.
No one was left. The front entrance had long been closed for the day...

Tran Thanh Duong
Gazebo - Bandstand
Singapore Botanical Gardens

This is a must visit place when I visit Singapore botanicals gardens. This is my favorite resting spot and picnic spot. This place use to be a bandstand for military band to perform but now it a pavilion for people to rest their legs. This place is surrounded with beautiful flowers and trees. In the bandstand you can see 3 heritage trees average heights of 40 meters. This place give me a peaceful, clam, cheerful feeling. The yellow flowers bring clarity and awareness to the surrounding. Yellow also exhumes a rather joyous and serene ambience. This is a place where most people start looking up at the bright yellow flowers on the trees and start to be aware of the surrounding. It's definitely a place for people to rest and enjoy serene of the
botanical gardens.

Tan Cheng Hiong Shaun