Date
September 22, 2020
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Get ready for an exciting line-up of more than 100 programmes as part of Singapore Archifest’s first ever hybrid edition!

Taking place over six weekends from 25 September to 31 October 2020, the annual Singapore Archifest organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) will be rolling out varied programmes that range from pop-up experiences that reimagine the way we live to virtual exhibitions, forums, film screenings, workshops, and an immersive virtual Pavilion that pushes the frontier of sustainable design − all to shine the spotlight on the impact and positive change that architecture can have in our current climate.

Anchored by the theme Architecture Saving OUR World, the festival is offering up programmes and activities that cater to both the built community and general public, inviting all to discover the role of architecture and explore how it can address today’s most pressing issues such as climate change, food shortage, and public health, even as humanity continues to battle against COVID-19.

Architecture Saving OUR World is this year’s Singapore Archifest theme – ©ADDP Architects in collaboration with OWIU Design

“This is a year of many firsts for the festival. Not only are we taking on a hybrid format, but also introducing a decentralised Singapore Archifest with smaller pop-up programmes to feature ground-up initiatives and projects across the island. Architecture impacts us all, and we want the festival to be an opportunity for everyone − whether architects, designers or those looking for something exciting to do over the weekend − to be able to join in the fun and participate in a collective effort to save our world through architecture.”

Dr. Chong Keng Hua, Festival Director of Singapore Archifest 2020,

The public can also look forward to a perennial favourite of the festival, the SIA-LES Archifest Pavilion, with this year’s winning design by ADDP Architects in collaboration with OWIU Design.

Titled Reclaiming Connectivity, the virtual pavilion invites festival-goers to reflect upon humanity’s innate need for connection juxtaposed against the current reality of social distancing, through an interactive 3D virtual tour accessible on Singapore Archifest’s website.

Curious to know more about design events happening soon? Don’t miss Milan’s Isola Design District plays local in September and goes Dutch in October.

Singapore Archifest - SHAU Virtual Project tour
SHAU Virtual Project Tour, Microlibrary Warak Kayu – ©KIE

Shaping the future of architecture together

To mark the opening of Singapore Archifest 2020, the festival will kick off with the Opening Forum “How Can We Place Architecture at the Frontline?” on 25 September, 7 pm with Guest-of-Honour Mr. Desmond Lee, Minister for National Development delivering an opening address.

This Opening Forum will discuss the role of architecture in today’s world, featuring different leaders in the built industry on how they are tackling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic through architectural responses and resource readiness. The forum will also be telecast live simultaneously on Singapore Archifest’s Facebook page.

Singapore Archifest - RIBA FREESTYLE exhibition by Space Popular
RIBA FREESTYLE Virtual Exhibition by Space Popular

With a selection of more than 10 virtual forums that delve into globally pressing topics, the series gathers Singapore, South-East Asia, and international expert panelists from diverse architecture and design backgrounds to join in conversations on the different ways responsible design can benefit the community and ecosystem.

Topics that will be discussed include food security and agriculture in Singapore, climate change, global heritage, and harnessing the community spirit of gotong royong. Other forum highlights include SIA’s Small Medium Practice Committee (SMAP)’s Why? Architect Forum, an excellent platform for anyone interested to learn what architects do as a profession; and Young Architects Studio’s RETHINK : REBOOT : REVAMP forum, where architecture students will be engaged to rethink current practices, reboot outdated systems, and to revamp the future.

This year’s hallmark SIA Conference will also feature 13 eminent design and architecture maestros from Singapore and across the world, as they present different aspects of how they have been utilising their architectural prowess for the betterment of lives through creative activism and ground-up initiatives.

Singapore Archifest - Designing to Serve
Designing to Serve, The Design Construct Workshop for the Homeless – ©WY TO

Discover architecture through pop-up activities and workshops

As part of the decentralised programmes this year, festival-goers can look out for physical and virtual pop-up activities that offer a suite of enriching experiences by local stalwarts who have spearheaded initiatives to make our world a better place through design.

Visitors who have ever considered becoming an urban farmer can take a peek behind the scenes of Singapore’s burgeoning urban farming scene with a visit to Edible Garden City‘s Citizen Farm at Queenstown, or head down for a Kampung Journey at Kampung Kampus by Ground-Up Initiative. While at the farm, visitors may also visit architectural prototypes like AirBamboo, Knitted Architectural Assemblies, Green Agora, and also a Design & Construct prototype for the Homeless.

On 3 October, head over to Parking Day Singapore at either Jalan Besar or Jurong East, and see how everyday spaces such as carparks are reimagined and transformed with vibrant activities that reflect the “new normal” of social distancing and health consciousness.

Members of the public can also take the chance to pick up new skills through on-site and online workshops that cover a wide range of interests such as ArchiCraft workshops by STUDIO, which include building digital architecture using LEGO bricks, painting landscapes in Gouache, making tensegrity structures, sketching and starting hydroponics from home.

In addition, families with young children can look forward to a series of design clinics by BEEP Lab that imparts kids with design conceptualisation skills through friendly competition.

Singapore Archifest - Early Lerning Sanctuary
Early Learning Sanctuary – ©Darreon Soh

Going online to save the offline

This year’s Singapore Archifest Exhibition celebrates diverse bodies of works that strive to make a difference in our lives and the world around us. A total of 40 organisations were shortlisted for the virtual exhibition, including architecture firms, academic studios, research think tanks, non-profit organisations, social enterprises, design creatives, and urban farms.

Bringing together these diverse yet closely-related professions, this year’s exhibition is a call to expand the dialogue beyond the conventional boundary of architecture, in order to tackle the multi-faceted issues that humanity faces. Some exhibits have accompanying physical pop-ups located at various decentralised sites; others will also be presented and discussed in several online forums during the festival.

The exhibits are curated in 3 categories of Our Shelters, Our Stories, and Our Sanctuary while acknowledging that many of the works span across these categories:

● Our Shelters focus on novel approaches towards architectural typologies, use of materials, as well as fabrication techniques, in responding to emerging societal, environmental, and public health needs.

● Our Stories highlights process-driven architectural design and planning that uncover latent human needs, engage stakeholders, and empower communities.

● Our Sanctuary zooms in on how we may rethink the urban landscape, and how this may contribute to the ecology and local food production, and in building food resilience before the next crisis.

If you want to know more about Singaporean design culture and urban landscape, don’t miss Singapore’s Walk-Cycle-Ride plan for better mass public transport.

Singapore Archifest - A Maze at Tanjong Pagar
A Maze at Tanjong Pagar – ©Urban Redevelopment Authority