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Keywords: Architecture
Design Track
Master (Architecture)
Erik Gerard L’Heureux
2015/2016 Aki DT
Issue Date: 30-Dec-2015
Abstract: Architecture in the tropics presented new challenges particularly at the turn of the 19th century when urbanisation and modernisation in the equatorial regions of the world began to accelerate. New materials brought to the tropics and planning schemes were to change forever the definition of tropical building in the equatorial region. Singapore was no exception in this series of events. The downtown district of Singapore, which forms the centre stage of the nation’s progress, has seen the emergence of a series of buildings overtime since gaining its independence in 1965. These buildings chronicle the shifting times and forces brought about by the nation’s vision for its future, simultaneously shedding light on the changing modes by which the tropical weather was dealt with. Once integral to Singapore’s national identity, the buildings soon began to attest to economic stability and subsequently the immense wealth of the country. The nation’s mode of modernisation, which is belied by westernisation, made a very drastic change on the built environment in that it almost seems to disregard entirely the design principles of the tropics. What has resulted is a built environment that has gone from sound tropical-consciousness to one now steeped in extravagance. The parameters of tropical design in Singapore today as well as the architect’s role in the design of buildings require clarification. In the face of hypercapitalism and westernisation, coupled with the proliferation of air-conditioning, it is crucial to identify a design conscience that is founded through informed choices on the architect as well as the client’s part. If anything were more pressing, it would be the almost mindless act of architects willing to concede to whatsoever the developer aims at, without a care for the consequences to the quality of space and the impact on the environment. The question and re-definition of tropical orthodoxy in the face of Singapore’s developmental aims and the increasing reliance on mechanical ventilation forms the study into the forces that shaped the way we have changed the tenets of tropical design that were brought about chiefly by the state and its mercantile interests - the tug of the economy which became chief designer to a very great extent. This dissertation drives at the importance of tropicalconsciousness and a heightened existential awareness in Singapore’s built environment, which is increasingly becoming a faceless face.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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