Keppel Maker Port Sharing City
Yeow Yann Herng & Jessica Jolin Ho
National University of Singapore
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 neighbourhoods 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’.
Yann & Jessica, could you begin by providing our readers with an introduction to yourselves, where have you studied, what stage you are in your architectural career’s /degree’s and also any of your interests or specialities?
We are both currently graduate students approaching our final year in the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in Singapore. Jessica attained her B.A (Architecture) from NUS as well, while Yann Herng went to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
J: I enjoy speculating on the future of our cities in view of rapid technological advancements, drawing links to the fields of psychology, sociology, and philosophy, and thus what this means for architecture.
Y: I have a vested interest in public architecture and its relationship with the larger issues of political, economic, socio-cultural aspects.
A key aspect of the project is the ideology of urban commons, could you provide our readers with an insight as to what this is and why it may be pivotal for the future of architectural design in Singapore?
In a bid to foster a sense of solidarity amongst people, the urban commons poses as a possible means of achieving such through ideas of shared ownership and shared responsibility, fostered through common interests. It is possibly a new urban typology conceived to maximize co-production, efficient usage of resources through sharing (co-consumption), and hence social cohesion.
Could you give us your opinion or perhaps a personal overview on the current state of architecture in Singapore?
With our limited land area, many of the old buildings (first the vernacular-style villages, then the colonial buildings such as shophouses, now the old international/brutalist style buildings) are slowly being torn down in Singapore to make room for the new ‘glass and steel’ buildings — thus often criticised for eroding cultural identities. As a response, ‘tropicalism’ as a theme is gaining traction in recent years where most local architecture strive to be sustainable and eco friendly, integrating techniques from vernacular architecture with the latest technologies.
You mention Cedric Price, particularly his Fun Palace in your project description, to what extent did his work influence your scheme?
This famous piece of unbuilt architecture demonstrates the idea of housing changeable programs under a huge transformable structure to achieve flexibility and fluidity in architectural design. While Fun Palace was conceived as a place for ‘fun’ and ‘learning’, we explore the possibility of employing the spatial logic and language in ‘making’ and ‘sharing’.
How does your project introduce the idea of Urban Commons and shared amenity spaces?
How we sought to foster the urban commons was through the idea of co-production and co-consumption. The main thing for us was to get people engaged and involved from the making process, the ideation, testing and giving feedback, crowd funding, 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). To further support the idea of co-production, these activities are then hosted in spaces produced by the Keppel Maker Port’s Production Hub itself, such in which strives to cultivate a community that produces what they consume — ‘For the people, by the people’.
Part of your project the ‘Production Hub’ explores 3D printing building construction, how is this utilised within your scheme and what are the benefits of using such a method?
The scheme explores 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 involves 4 elements — recycling, making, testing, and distribution. Old and outdated models of 3D printed co-working / residential modules are being sent back to the Production Hub where they will be disassembled, crushed, and recycled to form filaments for the large-scale 3D printers in the hub. These printers then use these recycled filaments to print new models of co-working / residential modules to be distributed to the rest of the site. Such encourages minimal material wastage and allows for on-demand production of such modules. Such is actually in line with Singapore’s trend of ‘designing for disassembly’.
You present your project with a series of colourful photorealistic renders and axonometric and isometric drawings, is this your favoured style of representation?
J: For my renderings specifically, I wouldn’t really classify them as being photorealistic but it more so straddles between being real and being ‘unreal’ (especially with the bright ‘unnatural’ colors of the structure) — making the project feel somewhat like a fictional place, yet without being a complete fantasy. I have been experimenting with various representation styles but this is by far my most preferred style.
Y: I consider myself as a render/graphic enthusiast. I like to spend time learning new skills in softwares which allow myself to explore new ways of representation. I personally believe the style of representation is very much depending on the project (i.e. mood, story, message, setting), thus mastering various styles do come in handy.
You have also produced a film to present a fly through of your project, is video a key aspect of displaying your work?
Yes. The scale of the physical model of this project is rather big, so not many details can be shown. As such,
we feel that fly-through video will help the audience to better visualize and imagine the space.
Could you provide our readers with an insight into your drawing process, what software or combination of programs do you use to produce your drawings?
For this project, we mainly used Google SketchUp for 3D modeling, with minor help from Rhino and Grasshopper script. We then export the lines into AutoCAD for line drawings, and use VRay for renderings before bringing the images into Photoshop CC for post-processing.
If you could offer one piece of advice to our architecture student followers what would it be?
J: Take risks and explore more in the design process.
Y: Be passionate! When you don’t, be brave to try out something new and explore possibilities. Architectural study is just a starting point that leads you to countless ends.
Finally, where can people find out more about you and your projects?