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Idealistic Pragmatism

Year 5 Masters Project

In Singapore, buildings are often demolished prematurely. Relentless urban transformation contrasts with the country’s land and resource scarcity; buildings are built to last, but rarely stand for more than 30 years. For the tangible benefits of development, people lose the intangible, social qualities of home.


Using the demise of my childhood home to establish the relationship between social objects, collective memory and architectural value, the project proposes a prototypical landscape of varied permanence, comprising Immovable Social Objects (ISOs) and Best Friends. The former are protected structures whose function is distilled from the social fabric, while the latter are housing attachments that envelop and protect ISOs through form and orientation, suggesting an approach where even with continued renewal, ISOs remain in place over time.


The project suggests an alternative future where progress is measured not purely in terms of tangible metrics, but via the intangible markers arising from interactions with and within the urban environment as well. While redevelopment is an ever-present in Singapore, radical possibilities to protect endeared spaces should now be considered.

UCL_Ernest Chin_Idealistic Pragmatism_00
UCL_Ernest Chin_Idealistic Pragmatism_00
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