Past, Present and Post-Tropicality

The project is an investigation into notions of ‘tropicality’ in the context of Singapore. Historically, concepts of nature, comfort, civil behaviour and progress have been shaped by depoliticised agendas grouped under the umbrella of ‘tropicality’. This climatic determinism has continued to shape our landscape and architecture under neocolonial guises of globalisation and capital flows. Framing ‘tropicality’ in terms of scarcity and affordances, the project ‘unmakes’ colonial vestiges of ‘tropical success’ which linger in our infrastructure and ‘remakes’ a landscape of affordances. Tangible and intangible resources of food, water, energy, land, material, labour, biodiversity and civic space are explored in this broad project which hopes to explore the multifarious – and sometimes insidious - aspects of ‘tropicality’. Postcolonial theories including those on governance, infrastructure and subaltern practices are inform this investigation which spans across disciplines and scales. Spanning 4.2 km, the scheme is a socio-ecological continuum linking a threatened forest to a national nature reserve. Along its length, social and physical constructs of scarcity are dissected, leaving behind a new imaginary towards productive and performative dwelling practices that synthesise nature and culture. Housing, educational spaces, areas for civic engagement and workshops are made from regenerative materials produced and processed on the site itself during a period of meanwhile programmes.

Viewing Singapore Through an 'Infra-Structural' Field

Annabelle Tan Kai Lin

Bartlett School of Architecture