Design & Build Open Competition


Amidst the backdrop of a severe economic downturn, this year’s Archifest 2009 embraces the appropriate theme of Architecture for Humanity, with the intention of exploring how architecture can help people in society. Amongst the various speakers, forums, and exhibitions, there will be a nationwide competition entitled Operation Void Deck that aims to engage members of the local architecture community to design and build something at the void decks of selected low-income flats that will serve to improve the lives of their inhabitants.

Social Context

Public housing in Singapore has mostly been driven by economic necessity and the ability to design features to cater to specific household needs or facilitate the finer points of community life is a costly option in a developer-driven environment. This project allows us to turn our eyes towards a very specific group of people: the inhabitants of older HDB estates, especially the elderly poor. The wish is to improve their everyday living conditions, and allow design to add value to their quality of life in a tangible way, experienced on a daily basis.

The Vision

Operation Void Deck is a proposed annual fixture of Archifest. Its mission is to serve as a social initiative backed by the local architectural profession (and eventually entire design industry) to improve the lives of the needy through the power of design. The hope is that with the sufficient support from the media, and government, and corporations, this will build momentum to becoming an anticipated event on the national calendar.

Why? Community Impact through Design

Design is often seen as the preserve of the priviledged and the elite, but it should be understood as a way in which human life can be improved creatively, humorously, and beautifully. Design is simply a way of looking at the world, and should be enjoyed by everyone. Operation Void Deck aims to break down these perceptions, to allow the power of design to be unleashed in the wider community of design professionals and students in Singapore.

There are four main sessions designed within this programme. All session will be held from 7.00 – 9.00 pm.

Session 1 – Introduction / Setting of Objectives
Friday, 23 October, National Library Building

Session 2 – Field Trip
Thursday, 29 October, Marine Parade Public Library

Session 3 – Idea Creation
Wednesday, 4 November, National Library Building

Session 4 – Refining of Ideas / Pitch
Monday, 9 November, National Library Building

Interested participants please register with Chris Koh at


6 responses to “Architecture

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