Metabolist Regeneration of a Dementia Nation
Jerome Ng Xin Hao
Bartlett School of Architecture
Architecture has long been a common and prevalent means of giving a commemorative presence to memory. Today, when new digital technologies render the nineteenth-century dichotomy between hand and the machine obsolete, where does craft lies in architecture? These significant changes in the nation’s life, whether social or political, alter the collective minds of its citizens. This is especially so when that nation is Singapore. With an aging population and an everchanging built environment, existing forms of remembrance of the past may be left with just photographs and videos. Therefore my project searched for the redefinition of craft beyond digital form-finding, using narrative and story-telling to address conservation, memory and performance; allowing hybrid practices between architecture and film-making to blur the boundaries of craft and experiences through the conservation of Golden Mile Complex.
Singapore’s Golden Mile Complex would be celebrated in many other countries, as an important icon of 1970’s Metabolist urbanism, yet in its home city - it faces imminent demolition. More than eighty similar sites have already been destroyed, as part of a progressive nation building programme. I speculates on an alternative vision for this huge residential block, that not only saves the building, but allows it to absorb physical artefacts from Singapores threatened urban infrastructure. A prototype for an alternative pattern for future development and craft-making in architecture; capable of allowing new and existing residents to forge new memories, whilst giving space for the past to breathe. The animated film documents the lives of a series of Golden Mile residents, urging us all to resist the power structures that would see our urban memories so readily erased.