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Medal Winner 2022
RIBA Award for Sustainable Design

A Journey through Past, Present and Post-Tropicality

Part 2 Project 2022
Annabelle Tan
Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) | UK
The project is an investigation into notions of ‘tropicality’ in the context of Singapore. Historically, concepts of nature, comfort, civil behaviour and progress have been shaped by depoliticised agendas grouped under the umbrella of ‘tropicality’. Framing ‘tropicality’ in terms of scarcity and affordances, the project ‘unmakes’ colonial vestiges of ‘tropical success’ that linger in our infrastructure and ‘remakes’ a landscape of affordances. Tangible and intangible resources of food, water, energy, land, material, labour, biodiversity and civic space are explored to divulge the multifarious – and sometimes insidious - aspects of ‘tropicality’.

Spanning 4.2 km, the scheme is a socio-ecological continuum linking a threatened forest to a national nature reserve. Along its length, social and physical constructs of scarcity are dissected, leaving behind a new imaginary towards productive and performative dwelling practices that synthesise nature and culture. Housing, educational spaces, areas for civic engagement and workshops are made from regenerative materials produced and processed along the site itself during a period of meanwhile programmes.

Large data on resource management inform the masterplan while local ways of construction and material performance shape details of aesthetics and structural logic. This technicality is balanced with an ethnographic approach to challenge normative domesticity through new housing schemes. At this scale, the affective and intimate experiences of infrastructure and resource prioritise tropical bodies in the investigation into post-tropicality.

Annabelle Tan

Ms Laura Allen
Mr Mark Smout
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