Peeling Green Pavilion

Archifest Pavilion
Competition 2013

Proposal: The Dhoby’s Green

1. SINGAPORE HERITAGE Addressing the site’s cultural heritage, we pay homage to small (and beautiful) enterprises, local, traditional trades who have helped build early Singapore. Amongst the coolies, samsui women, the kopishop restauranteurs, are our early South Indian settler dhobis.

Our heritage Dhoby Ghaut (Dhobi Ghat: which means laundrymen at the steps along the river) has its name derived from the traditional practice of laundrymen washing clothes along the Stamford Canal and then laying them to dry along the GREEN lawns by the banks.

THE DESIGN: We want to address, not just the architecture of Singapore as a practice; as contemporary objects, but also as an integral part of Singapore’s nation building through the theme SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.

2. CONTEXT HERITAGE Located at the foot of Fort Canning Park, we address our proximity to the hills and the historical reference of the Fort with bunkers tunnelled into the sides. In recent years, the Fort Canning Tunnel also refers to a certain subterranean condition of ‘being under landscape’.

THE DESIGN: We want to treat the grass at Dhoby Green with as much care as we would if they themselves were also the exhibits. We want to take the opportunity of SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL to bring focus to the wide range of green flora available on our little island by making them the star of the festival pavilion. Allowing the public to come up close to the flora species from all angles of BELOW, ABOVE, BESIDE and through intimate clusters of seats and swings, education of the landscape occurs through placards and texts stencilled onto the underside of ground sheets.

Truly going green does not mean placing new potted plants on display and draping a building with landscape but also the process and act of reducing waste, unnecessary killing of natural resources and educating the public on the microcosmic possibilities of urban farming.

3. NATURE HERITAGE The green turf at Dhoby Green is presently un-disturbed and thriving, albeit passive as part of the city’s landscape in a prime area. To place any public function or pavilion here will necessitate extensive damage to these lawns and then subsequent reinstatement.

THE DESIGN: We want to subvert that destructive process and take advantage of that abortive step as a strategy by inserting a new found temporary urban space for Archifest in between the act of damage and reinstatement.