Think Small

11 october 2013 / architecture / words alice davis

01-03 The Archifest Pavilion “House” by RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers; 04-05 Edible Gardens; 06-08 Small in The City by Priscilla Siew; 09-10 Small in The City by Rebecca Toh.


Singapore’s annual celebration of architecture reflected on the parts that make the whole.

The seventh edition of Archifest has drawn to a close in Singapore. This year’s theme, Small is Beautiful, aimed to celebrate the details in the city and the impact that simple ideas can have, all the while fostering a community-driven festival. The focus was on the thoughtful, the subtle and the considered. According to the festival director, Adib Jalal, the theme invited Singaporeans to think of the city as an “urban organism” and to look at it through a variety of lenses.

For the second year the organizers, the Singapore Institute of Architects, ran a competition among architecture firms to design the Archifest Pavilion. This year’s winner, RSP Architects, Planners and Engineers, created House, which was erected on Dhoby Ghaut Green. A scaffolding-based pavilion, dressed in safety nets of orange and gray and featuring pedestrian walkways connecting various spaces, provided a practical base for festival activities, including forums, workshops and exhibitions. Each seemingly small element of the pavilion ultimately connects to form the image of a house. In contrast to the constructional feel of the pavilion, Edible Gardens created an Urban Farming Corner, which presented innovative space-saving ways for people to grow vegetables and herbs at home and hosted workshops that taught pavilion visitors how to successfully nurture their edible gardens.

Capturing the theme of Archifest in a more artistic fashion, a short series of images was presented by Singaporean photographers Priscilla Siew and Rebecca Toh. Entitled Small in the City, the two photo essays explored the beauty found in those parts of life that go unnoticed. For Toh, the essay focused on the irony of the loneliness humans feel in densely populated cities, while Siew thoughtfully captured home life from a unique perspective.


Look for more coverage of Archifest 2013 in the December-January issue of Surface Asia magazine.

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