Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone goes behind Singapore’s infrastructure, its modern cityscape and beyond the walls of private abodes to look at how the city and its people are interacting and using the environments. The theme celebrates People and their Creative Actions in forging social bonds, new identities and connections to Place. The Singapore Pavilion showcases a selection of works in three segments: People and their Homes, People working the Land and People engaging the City.

Photo by: Don W Photo by: Don W Photo by: Don W Photo by: Don W

Returning Singapore Pavilion from the 15th International Architecture Exhibition
Venice Biennale as one of the highlights of Singapore Design Week 2017
"Frontliners in Action: architects and the people create a better living environment"

May 28-Nov 27, 2016 Mar 3-Apr 8, 2017
Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 10am-6pm
Friday-Saturday, 10am-8pm
9am- 9pm, Daily
Closed on Mondays - except on 5 Sept, 31 Oct and 21 Nov Opens Everyday

Arsenale-Sale d'Armi Level 1 Atrium, Gallery 1 and Courtyard
Campo della Tana 2169/f National Design Centre, Singapore
Venice, Italy

Admission charges apply. Free admission
For more information of ticketing, please visit the ticketing office for more details -

The Exhibition

Curatorial Statement

Department of Architecture,
National University of Singapore

Responding to the primary theme of 15th International Architecture Exhibition, ‘Reporting from the Front,’ Singapore’s presentation places the small 'battles' fought at the home-front. These efforts are contributing to the emergence of an invigorated Singapore. From within the comfort and the security of the domestic environments and public spaces that have been created over the past five decades, we are now pushing the home-front from within–to create more Space to Imagine, and Room for Everyone.

Through actions, guided and spontaneous, initiated by individuals, establishments and groups, we are witnessing active participation of our citizens: stepping out, taking actions, owning and adopting their environments. They have also heightened the role of design advocacy and participation, both real and imagined, at various scales and levels in schemes of future renewals, intensified in-fills of left-over spaces, in the narrow confines of domestic spaces.

In two broad themes (archetypal terrains), at every scale, in the boundary between the private and public realms, actions like participation, contestations, activations, appropriations, transgressions and occupations are enacted. All these happen in the building and urban fabric – on the grounds, in the void decks, in the private abodes of our housing estates, and in our public spaces.

In a battery of actions on these terrains, we forge through designing a new society built on the gains of the previous more austere generation. In pushing against this front, in turning Singapore inside out, we move beyond from being productive and technocratic, to be creative and egalitarian. Thus, these 'battles' at the front is a poignant visual account of our human capacity building, in looking at the past with new eyes, and broadly, in our attempts to humanise the environments of Singapore.


Executive Director,
DesignSingapore Council and Commissioner, (Until 31st October 2016)
Singapore Pavilion,
15th International Architecture Exhibition

Singapore has achieved successes in the last fifty years of nation building. Notably, it is one of the most liveable cities in the world. Our vision in the next 10 years is for Singapore to extend beyond a liveable city and become a loveable city. The city and its places will offer unique experiences that foster shared memories and forge an emotional connection with its people. To realise that vision, we can certainly do more to encourage and help citizens to co-create and participate in the development of the landscape in which they live, learn, work and play.

Space to Imagine, Room for Everyone emphasises how the built environment is intertwined with people by outlining the frontiers that need to expand in order to improve the quality of life. We are proposing how we could own and transform our built environment, by going beyond the infrastructure and highlighting our people’s connection to and use of spaces through their homes, working the land and engaging the city.

The Singapore Pavilion presents three archetypal spatial domains: the land, the city and people’s homes. People and the Land shows the relationship which people are re-establishing with the land. People and the City discovers how citizens are shaping the cityscape through designing community-owned spaces, active programming and community engagement. People and their Homes illuminates the richness that is contained in the confines of the home, and unveils the creative use of domestic space.

We believe the various co-creation projects among individuals and communities will help to develop stronger sense of belonging and greater empathy in understanding the needs of others. Only then, can we truly be able to design a society that will embrace the use of design to enhance the lives of its people. We welcome you to visit us at the Singapore Pavilion where we will share with you our 'battles' at the front and attempts to overcome them.


Uncovering the Creativity Inherent in Our Domestic Lives

In the heartland of our new towns where 85% of the population dwell and own homes, exists the dominant ‘front’ where the challenges are the real and hidden edges of the commonplace. To remain vigilant is to tug against the complacency of sedentary comfort and security. While some individuals dare to reinvent their definition of domestic space and actualise their dreams, many others remain satisfied, comfortably settled into their routines. Despite these different reactions and conditions, there is a rising awareness that the stability of the domestic realms sets the tone for communal and collective thoughts of social resilience.

This segment presents HDB: Homes of Singapore, a pictorial journey by the artist duo Eitaro Ogawa and Tamae Iwasaki of Keyakismos, together with Tomohisa Miyauchi, an architect, with photographs taken over a period of three years that portrays the diversity, culture, individuality, colours and creativity inside HDB homes and 03-FLATS by Lei Yuan Bin and Lilian Chee, an essay film that follows the domestic lives of three women in our housing estates, examining between the women’s distinctively lived interiors and the ordered public spaces beyond.

HDB: Homes of Singapore. Image courtesy of Tomohisa Miyauchi.


Working the Earth, Forming Roots.

The participants shown here reflect a new wave within this land-scarce city-state, where groups discover a connection to the ground. As much as urban development has housed people in modules, grids, and stacks, their spontaneous engagement with the land release them, even momentarily from the imposed order of modern life.

The ‘battle’ in this terrain contemplates a renewal of the social, communal and spiritual gains in working the land. It offers alternatives in seeing such creative activities beyond the economic bottom-lines or confined to neatly zoned and controlled areas.

This segment presents gardening movement by Goldhill Gardening Club, Urban Farming by Edible Garden City and Comcrop and a reforming village by Ground-Up Initiative.

Urban farm on the rooftop of Raffles City Shopping Centre.
Image courtesy of Edible Garden City.


Citizens Taking the Initiative in Shaping the Environment

In our city, a new ‘front’ in urban spaces and the Rail Corridor are open to be enlivened, to be made more responsive and to be transformed into places of conviviality for public involvement and creative activation. This entails careful place management and public consultation with stakeholders. The affordances of place are explored to understand and evaluate the extant obstacles created by legacies of control and management. Similarly, the quest for more responsive spaces and inclusive services in our built environment has also fired up the imagination of young designers to find ways to empower a larger segment of our population in imagining their spaces, making them accessible to many.

This segment presents Rail Corridor Project, Our Favourite Place and Participate in Design.

The Rail Corridor aims to be an inclusive space built for the enjoyment of people from all walks of life. Image courtesy of the Rail Corridor Project.

Commissioners & Curators

Jeffrey Ho, Commissioner

Mr. Jeffrey Ho joined the DesignSingapore Council in 2009. As the Executive Director, he leads the national agency for design in Singapore by charting national policies on design, developing design capabilities, and enabling enterprises to use design for innovation and growth.

Jeffrey is the chairman of the Design Industry Development Panel and is also a member of the Design 2025 Masterplan Committee that looks into the development of Singapore’s design sector till 2025. He founded the National Design Centre in Singapore and the Design Thinking & Innovation Academy with the aim to infuse design thinking and develop design-driven innovation capabilities in Singapore. He also set up the Asian Insights & Design Innovation Programme to understand Asian users’ lifestyles, needs, wants and desires to drive product, service and experience innovation in Singapore.

Currently, he is a member of the Shanghai International Creative City Advisory Board. He sat on the International Strategic Advisory Council of IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers) and was a board member of the 2011-2013 Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) Executive Board.

He is appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor for Design Thinking at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore. He is also a practising visual artist.

Tai Lee Siang, Co-Commissioner

Mr. Tai Lee Siang sits on the board of the DesignSingapore Council as well as the Design 2025 Masterplan Committee. He is also currently President of Design Business Chamber Singapore. Mr Tai held the position as President of Singapore Institute of Architects from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, Mr. Tai chaired the formation of DesignS – an alliance comprising eight design-centric Associations to promote Singapore Design Brands.

He is currently the Group Managing Director of ONG&ONG Singapore, a multi-disciplinary consultancy firm providing total solutions encompassing Urban Planning, Architecture, Engineering, Landscape Architecture and Interior Design. Mr Tai has practised as an architect and urban planner since 1990.

Currently, he is a member of the Shanghai International Creative City Advisory Board. He sat on the International Strategic Advisory Council of IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers) and was a board member of the 2011-2013 Icograda (International Council of Graphic Design Associations) Executive Board.

He is appointed an Adjunct Associate Professor for Design Thinking at the Faculty of Engineering, National University of Singapore. He is also a practising visual artist.

Wong Yunn Chii, Lead Curator

Dr. Wong Yunn Chii is the Head of the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore (NUS) since 2006. He studied architecture and architectural history at Washington University-St Louis and MIT-Cambridge respectively. He presently works modern and contemporary architecture and urban history of Singapore. His on-going researches and writings deal primarily with the contemporary architecture of Singapore, history of modern architecture, housing and shop-house typologies and contemporary architectural practices. He curated Singapore’s inaugural architectural exhibition at the Venice Biennale [2004], mounted three other national exhibitions on Singapore architecture and architects: Singapore 1:1 (City) [2005], Singapore 1:1 (Island)[2007], and 20 Under 45 [2010].

He served as an editor of the Journal of Southeast Asian Architecture and The SA (Singapore Architect), and on the juries of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Architectural Heritage Awards, and Singapore Institute of Architecture Annual Design Awards.

Tomohisa Miyauchi,Co-Curator

Tomohisa Miyauchi is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore, conducting design studio and lectures. His teaching and research areas include; architectural practice as entrepreneurship and experimentation, contemporary architectural theory and curation in architecture.

He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in 2000, and Master in Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (GSD) in 2004. He set up the architectural partnership in Tokyo shortly after graduating from SCI-Arc and was responsible for the design of a host of built projects relating to art, furniture, interior and architecture in Japan and China. In 2010, he was selected as one of the 20 emerging designers in “JAPAN DESIGN+” by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan.

Teo Yee Chin, Co-Curator & Designer for the Singapore Pavilion

Teo Yee Chin is a practising architect based in Singapore. He is the founding principal and design director of RBA which he first established in 2009 as Red Bean Architects. He is also an educator and a writer.

Yee Chin was born in 1975 in Singapore. He obtained his Master's of Architecture at Harvard University in 2003. He has taught design studios in both National University of Singapore (NUS) as well as Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) focusing on architecture in the city.

Yee Chin has been an invited speaker at TEDx, Archifest, NUS and Singapore Polytechnic. He has published commentaries on local architecture and urban design in the press and local architectural journals.



Jeffrey Ho

Tai Lee Siang

Dr. Wong Yunn Chii

Tomohisa Miyauchi

Exhibition Designer:

Teo Yee Chin

Curator Assistant:
Liane Ee

Commission/Presented By

Organised/Curated by

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.
Branding and website by Do Not Design



General Enquiries
[email protected]

Press/Media Enquiries
O'lief PR

Web Master Services