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The Opera Ramp : Reconfiguring Singapore's Cityscape

Part 1 Project 2009
Bing Hui Tan
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore
Situated at the base of Fort Canning Hill, the site is located in between a capitalism-driven commercial zone, and a location rich in both Singapore’s history and culture dating back before Singapore’s founding by Sir Stamford Raffles. With the discovery of the Archaeological Site that contains Chinese and Javanese archaeology, re-cultivation of the Spice Garden and new implementation of Art District connector, missing pieces of Singapore’s history are refurbished to present the identity of Singapore before and during the Colonial era.

Yet, the presence of Fort Canning Hill is omitted from the lives of Singaporeans, the amnesia in and of our folklore and history. Hence, architecture is seen as an apparatus to rekindle and stir the curiosity of our society. With an unfamiliar architectural typology, the aim is to siphon activities and attention of everyday life into Fort Canning Hill.

The design process from which the project evolved was grounded with an initial idea: the new intervention is to be considered as a manifestation of a single ramp, literally, in an articulated manner, in which the planar form, function, purpose and ascending spatial experience are made known to users in a most literal and self-explanatory way.

Interactive nodes situated in the architecture let users adopt a sensory approach, which involves the user’s sense of sight, smell, touch and hearing. The intention is to promote and educate the public on Singapore’s history and culture when they ascend the ramp as a preparatory journey before they embark onto an evocative historical enlightening journey on Fort Canning Hill.

In summary, this architectural manifestation will reconfigure and enhance the connectivity of the urban fabric. With the introduction of a new entry, it will connect, divert and channel pedestrian traffic flow up towards Fort Canning Hill in a direct manner. Thus, architecture becomes instrumental in mitigating the disconnection between people and society, and history and culture.

Bing Hui Tan


The student’s project for a Chinese Opera Centre on the base of Fort Canning, the historic hill where the king of Malaya and the father of modern Singapore once lived, is a simple but poetic and sophisticated proposal. He tackled to find out the way of existence that is only available here and now, between the conserved historic hill and the future-oriented city of the incessant changing.

He inserted a calmly-sloped plane slab empty site to connect Fort Canning and commercial town zone to provide the most appropriate approach for the historic hill in which the archaeology site and the part of the botanical garden still remained untouched as if they were forgotten to be modified or replaced like other historic remains. The facility blocks for the Chinese Opera Centre which will work as apparatus for sensory perception, are placed in the slope. Underneath the sloped slab which is lifted structurally by the facility blocks, are open air public spaces and service areas which will support the activities. Small gaps between the sloped slab and facility blocks bring in light, breeze, heat, shadow, smell and sound that come from daily operation of the facilities, in and out of the sloped slab.

This is a proposal of a physical connection between greenery hill and material town, between the heritage past remains and futuristic developments, by filling up the fissure which will stir awareness of people living in Singapore.

Tutor(s)

2009
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