6 SEA WALLS
Objects in the City - Architecture of Mediation
Studio Tutor: Tsuto Sakamoto
The project explores an existing dichotomy in the city, between the presence of the monument and the other presences, such as vehicles, roads and other surround buildings.The present situation is one that is detrimental towards the monument, which harbours cultural and historical value to the nation, as it seems to be losing its influence and impact onto the city.
At the same time, it is a critique towards how buildings are conserved in Singapore, by the act of “freezing buildings in time”. Such methods only lead to irrelevance with respect to the growth of its surroundings. In addition, it allows for gentrification to happen within its preserved facades, as the historical spaces are adapted for contemporary uses.
The resulting design is an extension of the monument of Church of Saints Peter and Paul, built in 1870 for the Catholic Chinese community and gazetted as a national monument in 2003.
What the project does with respect to the existing dichotomy was that it seeks to unify the conflicting presences in the city, in the creation of the “wall” and the “container”. The “wall” act as enablers of the monument, exaggerating the symmetry and orientation of the neoclassical church, while the “container” act as enablers of programme, containing gentrification. Both work hand in hand to both a symbiotic relationship - the “wall” is a circulatory space, climatic and optical calibrator, while the “container” allows the existing regular programmes of the city to happen within without disturbing the symmetry of the monument.
However, the unity that has been designed suppresses the actual tension behind the clash of these different objects in the shared space, the city - monument, shops, theatres, churches and studios. This tension is revealed through a twist, by using the cycle of day and night. The sun drops below the horizon and the interior artificial lights are turned on. Within flickering lights and moving shadows, the presence of the monument is disturbed by the ghastly presences that were previously hidden behind the "walls".
The monument sits helplessly, until the activities cease, and when the sun rises again the next day.