With 2012's Gardens by the Bay, Singapore's history of geographical simulation is extended. From fiery hell to ancient China, Corbusian modernity to Thai floating markets, these spatial reproductions were not always national or profit-driven initiatives. This understanding moves these six spaces away from questions of authenticity or theme-parking, and calls us to consider, for ourselves, their respective values within Singapore's limited territory and short history.
The sign says 'trespassers will be prosecuted' and past instances of spatial infractions prove the sign doesn't lie. However, these breaches also question and then clarify the concept of public space and our right to the city of Singapore. Here are four urban interventions that were first conceived outside of the law, exposed, and eventually made legal.
"Singapore is a very small place in a very, very large, variable, changing world, and if it is not nimble, if it is not swift in making adjustments, it will perish and the people know that." These words from Mr Lee Kuan Yew articulate Singapore's approach to its policies, national initiatives, and affairs in general. We track some of these state adjustments and their physical bodies, where as with all ventures, we see a mix of successes and failures.
Here are seven urban objects built after Singapore’s independence that show a propensity for bigness. With recent projects such as the world's largest floating solar photovoltaic cell test-bed (2016), the world’s largest pre-school (2017), and the world's tallest indoor waterfall (2019), it would appear that that this trend is not only continuing, but intensifying.