The Keppel Maker Port situated at the previous Port of Singapore in Tanjong Pagar seeks to propagate the ‘maker culture’ that arose with the advent of the Sharing Economy paradigm. Tackling ‘making’ at both ends of the production scale — from personal (Innovation Park) to mass production (Production Hub), the Keppel Maker Port serves as an incubator for designers and makers, providing opportunities for collaboration and exchange throes ugh a new model of working. The Port also seeks to engage the public and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods from the making process to the consumption of retail and dining through a new commercial experience of the ‘site as a marketplace’ where you can buy everything you use (on the site), hosted in spaces produced by the Keppel Maker Port itself, such in which strives to cultivate a community that produces what they consume — ‘For the people, by the people’.
From here, two areas to zoom were identified for the individual design project — the Production Hub (by Jessica) and the Innovation Park (by Yann Herng)
Production Hub write-up (by Jessica):
Seen as the main production and research hub for large-scale items on the site, the Production Hub primarily looks into the future of 3D printing building construction, propagating the idea of ‘producing what you consume’, even in the spaces in which we occupy. As such, the Production Hub engages the concept of the circular economy which seeks to keep resources in use for as long as possible, constantly regenerating them into new forms and products. Such involes 4 elements — recycling, making, testing, and distribution.
Innovation Park (by Yann Herng):
Conceived as a large-scale incubator for maker groups and hobbyists, the Innovation Park aims to advance the maker culture by involving the public in all stages, from ideation, feedback, crowd-sourcing, making, to consumption, in parallel with the site vision of ‘produce what you consume’. Architecturally, the multi-disciplinary and open-for-all maker space takes the form of a free-flowing space under one big roof to achieve flexible, transformable and adaptable architecture. Capitalizing on the genius loci, industrial-like structure and gantry crane are employed in creating an innovative and highly flexible maker space.
What prompted the project?
Building on the basis of the prevalence of the sharing economy in Singapore, the current Tanjong Pagar Terminal is envisioned as an experimental site for a future model of living. Such is a combination of the collective forms and modes of sharing that permeates through the different facets of living and interacting. This site is a testbed for the experimentation, analysis and evaluation of different forms of participation, sharing and collaboration, which can be promoted in a high-density, tropical urban environment. Everyone in the neighborhood (residents, workers, visitors, etc.) is seen as a potential participant in activities that engage meaningful forms of sharing through co-production, co-consumption and collective interaction. This design project aims to uncover the notion of sharing and what exactly it entails, through the various exchanges between people in the urban context of Singapore.
What defined the angle you then chose to articulate through the project after the initial stage of research?
Amidst the perceived contrast between technology and the visual arts, we saw an opportunity to bridge the 2 through the field of industrial design — where both technologically inclined individuals as well as designers and artists are equally valuable. The site located near the local arts district as well as near the Central Business District, thus provided us with a suitable platform to explore this collaboration between the ‘maker’ and the ‘designer’ — a trend which has yet been fully uncovered in Singapore, yet holds a promising future.
What was your work process in terms of project development and drawing?
The project first began with the development of an underlying system that links the different players together. Through the system, it could be made clear what the relationships and interactions between the different groups of people as well as their physical environment. This manifested in the form of a system diagram consisting only of text, icons, and arrows. We then sought to design spaces that facilitated and encouraged such interactions and relationships. Through concept sketches (exploration in plan, section, and even perspective), we developed a 3D model which was then used as our primary mode of further exploration, from which we derived all orthographic drawings and images.
What programs did you use throughout the development of the project?
How instrumental were these in shaping your vision?
The drawings helped us to convey our ideas and messages. As we are dealing with different scales (i.e from urban planning to architecture), well presented drawings (to represent an accurate sense of scale), diagrams (to illustrate the underlying thought process), perspectives (to convey ambience), and a fly-through animation (to simulate the experience), allowed us to thoroughly represent the complexity of the project.
Where do you see this project developing?
Currently, the underlying systems that govern the interactions and activities are restricted within the boundaries of the site. Moving forward, it would have been interesting to explore the potential of scaling the project up to reach out to the rest of the country.
How has it shaped you as architects?
The studio took an evidence-based approach which encouraged us to back every argument and proposition with a sound basis, such is very important especially in urban planning. This exercise also made apparent the differences between planning and architectural design, where the latter would have allowed more room for human emotions, feelings, and meanings (hence meaninglessness).
How did you work as a group?
It involved a lot of necessary communication where we sought to untangle issues and work through the problems together, rather than dividing the problems with each tackling each on our own. Such is a tiring process but it allowed the both of us to have an equal involvement in the entire scheme. Through that, we were able to develop a comprehensive scheme rich in layers and depth.
How did you approach the notion of representation together?
In school we were always taught the importance of accurate orthographic drawings. However, such often took away the element of fun from an imaginative academic project. We thus decided to supplement these necessary drawings with a series of images to help us convey the story and mood of our project. Color was thus a very important element in portraying the scheme as a fun and dynamic experience.