LiveLife: Future Tropical LivingConversation Three
When asked about the transition over the years, they said that recent years were a horrible period for Singapore in terms of Architecture. That Singapore tried too much to follow trends and styles even though some were ingenious. The less we try, the better we look.
// HDB designs were better in previous years.
- Having previously worked for HDB, Yuen Hong mentioned that previous high-rise building projects were better designed. In a sense that nowadays, there are roof gardens or meeting points where it’s a destination, not a convenient point of conversing even if it’s just a greeting. It breaks a sense of neighbourly contact. Even with landed properties, everyone just goes into their house and shuts off. One even had a client that had a semi transparent gate at their car porch but after a while, requested again for it to be covered up completely.
// Privacy trumps interaction.
- The level of privacy to Singaporeans has elevated to such a point that they wondered if Singaporeans could ever live in a westernised manner whereby there aren’t any gates or fences between houses, which seemed to be a friendlier approach.
That in previous days kids could gather with their neighbours and were free to play anywhere on the streets or by the sides. But nowadays, there are cars everywhere. Play areas for kids are designated. The freedom for them to play with other kids has decreased. Environments aren’t as lively as before whereby one could get home from work and see kids playing.
// Increasing demands for luxe.
- There are two groups of people with certain demands. One wanted to maximise everything – an en-suite bathroom for every bedroom, along with a walk-in wardrobe. They wanted more of everything. On the other hand, you have the group whereby they went with a ‘just enough’ concept, which heartens Yuen Hong. Rene agreed fully and those who wanted more of everything only utilises half of the space. He admitted being one of them.
They then added that it’s because people are looking to sell for GFA (Gross Floor Area). That they are looking five years down the road, what demands the people may want. Which is sad because you’re now looking at having more of everything just for the sake of selling it in future and not actually building a home with spaces you actually need.
It seems as though they were just complaining about regulations, size and all, which Aamer pointed out. But they just wanted to talk about influencing change to what can be done better. Aamer recalled crying over a project he once tendered. Part of his design had to be at a 40-degree angle due to regulations. But he insisted on it being lesser. When asked why did it have to be lesser than 40 degrees, he said it’s just, design. There’s no why. How do I explain that?
There are ways to work around rules and regulations with design. But if design is compromised, should rules and regulations still be enforced or should they then act as a guideline if the purpose of it is still met? And if design can help a community be more open to interacting with one another, should fences and gates be removed from landed properties?FUSSY