|Lau, C. and Chee, L
Anticipating the Unexpected
Expanding on the festival theme ‘50:50, Looking Forward, Looking Back’, the chronological narrative for our student charrette starts with the period commonly referred to as Colonial Singapore. Hence the location of the urban quarter begins with the supposed landing site of Singapore’s founder, Sir Stamford Raffles, on 28 January, 1819. This spot on the north bank of the Singapore River is currently marked by a statue of him.
The River was essential to the trading settlement established by the British. This notion of commerce is still apparent and this area currently forms part of the Central Business District (CBD) where core financial and commercial districts are located. The particular quarter of interest is also flanked by important buildings associated with colonial rule.
The identity of this area is changing rapidly with new cultural functions given to these historically prominent buildings. For instance the oldest existing government building, Parliament House, currently serves as the Arts House which is a performing centre and cinema. Most notably, the National Gallery opening in November 2015 will occupy the former Supreme Court and City Hall.
The expansion of the cultural programme has seen the construction of Esplanade, Theatres by the Bay as well as the Art Science Museum within close proximity. Unlike the Arts House and National Gallery, the Theatre and Museum are constructed on reclaimed land. Hence the next 50 years will bring about further alterations to the landform and coastline. This strategy of expansion will be further explored in this charrette.
This change in urban fabric resulting from the juxtaposition of the arts and cultural scene onto a quarter that is traditionally associated with political, financial and commercial activities will be examined, and the readings used to inform the design proposals.
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