This video produced for Contested Modernities, argues that the discussion of heritage conservation has to move towards a more holistic view that includes an ethical discourse of environmental and social sustainability.
The rate at which modernist buildings in Singapore are being demolished is a cause for concern. Often referred to as “ugly”, “run-down”, and “urban blight”, large modernist structures are primarily perceived at face value. People are reluctant to look beyond these labels to see their potential, architectural or otherwise. By steering the conversation towards a larger and more ethical discourse of environmental and social sustainability, we hope that the modern built heritage can be saved by virtue of its universal good to the climate and environment, moving the discussion away from subjective perceptions.
Three leading industry practitioners – Ho Weng Hin (Studio Lapis), Dr Hossein Rezai (Web Structures), and Immediate Past President of the Singapore Institute of Architects, Mr Seah Chee Huang (DP Architects) – give their take on the issue, calling to save both our heritage and the environment before it is too late. Iconic modern structures such as Golden Mile Complex as well as the “everyday modern” landscapes of Housing Development Board (HDB) estates frame the discourse.
Under the guidance of Ho Weng Hin, founding partner of Studio Lapis and Chair Docomomo Singapore, this video was produced by Jonathan Yee Chenxin, Freda Yu Bing Jie, and Ge Luyao in collaboration with Docomomo Singapore. Freda Yu Bing Jie is a recent architectural graduate who is currently pursuing the multidisciplinary study of art and global sustainability. Ge Luyao is a recent architectural graduate interested in health-restoring design in urban settings as well as therapeutic architecture and cognitive learning. Jonathan Yee Chenxin is an assistant consultant at Studio Lapis, an architectural conservation consultancy. His research interest centres around Singapore’s modernist architecture.
The production of this video was made possible through the generous support of the Goethe Institute Singapore.