The 17th Edition Of The Singapore Archifest 2023 Returns With An Array Of Family-Friendly Programmes

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Singapore Archifest 2023 is set to feature a diverse line-up of programmes centred in the historic Kampong Gelam precinct.

Venue: Various locations
Date: fromĀ 29 Sep 2023
Time: Various timings
Fee: Free & Ticketed

SingaporeĀ Archifest 2023

Photo Credit:Ā SingaporeĀ Archifest 2023

In line with its 60th anniversary, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) presents a new edition of Singapore Archifest. Themed along ā€œInterim: Acts of Adaptationā€, festival-goers will reflect on the adaptability of our built environment to respond to pressing issues as the city continues to evolve.

Centred in the historic Kampong Gelam precinct, the festival demonstrates the ever-changing layers of the city through a month-long line-up of new and diverse programmes. From engaging installations, incubator design workshops, residencies, to thought-provoking talks, expect a season of experimentation and discovery as Archifest intervenes in our urban spaces like never before. Here's taking a closer look at some of the family-friendly programmes that will be taking place atĀ Singapore Archifest 2023:

[NEW] AF Installations

Venue: 6 sites across Kampong Gelam
Date: 30 Sep 2023 to 28 Apr 2024
Fee: Free Admission

The Archifest Pavilion is traditionally the centrepiece of the festival. This year, Archifest 2023 diffracts a single pavilion into dispersed Urban Installations around the festival site of Kampong Gelam. In the spirit of adaptability in an ā€œInterimā€ future, Archifest 2023 has invited emerging designers to create six distributed urban installations to embody the ā€œInterim Cityā€.

A Particular Place by Leonard Yang, Leow Wei Li, Akai Chew

Location: Festival House (45, 47 Sultan Gate)

A Particular Place is designed by an artist collective interested in the use of the built environment in representing, revealing and occluding the different facades of urban spaces. Using various past and present maps of Kampong Gelam as a starting point, the result is a mural design that explores the different layers of history through incorporating design, painting and photography elements. A series of layered historical maps of Kampong Gelam forms the base of the mural to reveal the rich histories of this district. The mural integrates a mix of iconography found within Kampong Gelam as well as photographs of Kampong Gelam real (from the National Archives) and fictional (generated by Artificial Intelligence software). A series of symbols inspired from the aesthetics of construction sites in Singapore is also incorporated into the map as signs and annotations, seeking to spark new formations and express the language of ā€œInterimā€. The mural altogether highlights a series of significant changes that have occurred in the area, and doubles up as a form of wayfinding from the Festival House (45, 47 Sultan Gate).

As part of the artwork, the mural design incorporates community engagement through co-mapping sessions. The team will reach out on social media to invite members of the public to contribute under their guidance, to transform the mural into a combined cartography of various perceptions and experiences.

Scaffold Bridge Over Fence by Faiz bin Johri



Location: Sultan Gate Park

Constructed using scaffolding, timber floor planks, and galvanised steel, Scaffold Bridge Over Fence is a bridge-like structure that spans across and connects the open Sultan Gate Park to the fenced grassy area behind the festival houseā€“or what was previously known as Pondok Java.

The old Pondok Java was a lodging and community space for Javanese immigrants that became the bustling centre of Javanese culture in Kampong Gelam until it was demolished in 2003. Today, a fence surrounds the site, marking the boundary and encapsulating the memory of where the old Pondok Java used to stand.

The installation ā€“ an interim bridge - is inserted into the unique site context, and transforms the significant space by reinstating the surrounding communities access to it, thus reflecting an interim desire to enter the previous landmark gathering site.

Asterisk by Dynamic Assemblies Lab


Location: Sultan Gate Park

Asterisk place-make by creating a distinct ephemeral spatial effect that has the capacity to layer onto the existing rich identity of Sultan Gate Park. Floating tubes suspended using thin (almost invisible) cables give this installation its distinctive effect. Using a novel type of digitally designed tensegrity this canopy structure helps delineate a place to contemplation, people watching or host celebration within the bustling context of Kampong Gelam.

The pattern for the canopy is composed of several overlapping 2.5m asterisks that are rotated to avoid touching. The rotation of the elements relative to one another creates a dynamic, informal composition stimulating onlookers to explore the various ways the piece can be perceived. The installation is deliberately designed to conjure associations with the recently felled banyan tree, which has deep cultural and religious significance for the local Kampong Gelam community.

Dulang-Dulang by Syazwan Hanif & Syafiq Jubri

Location: Coach Lots

This installation transforms what is currently a parking zone for coaches and cars into an inviting public gathering space that encourages congregation and conversations. Inspired by the Dulang, a steel tray used for communal eating specific to Singapore and Malay culture, the design multiplies the scared circular geometry of the tray and manipulates them (through clustering and intersecting) to create a common table, while the wavy seating evokes associations of the motion of fragrance wafting from freshly prepared meals. Spices commonly used in preparation of Malay meals and other plants local to the Kampong Gelam district will be incorporated into the installation. These associations will be intuitively received by the local Kampong Gelam community, and amplify its significance of this unique cultural element to the general public.

Collective Memories of Kampong Gelam by Jerome Ng, Zed Haan, Kevin Ong

Location: Grass patch in front of Jln Keledek Substation

The living and the dead are intricately linked, and one cannot truly understand the essence of Kampong Gelam without recognising the significance of both. The site of the installation is at the interim of the boundaries of an existing shophouse at Kampong Gelam, and the old cemetery which is slated for demolition across the road, posing an interim between Kampong Gelamā€™s past and future.

As visitors immerse themselves in this experiential installation, they become part of a journey that pays homage to the diverse communities that journeyed from distant lands to Singapore, seeking a new life in Kampong Gelam. The collective memories of triumphs, struggles, and shared experiences of these courageous souls have laid the foundations for this neighbourhood to become the vibrant and popular district it is today. The installation design further references the shophouse typology, born out of trade activity, that is defined through its interstitial spaces, such as the internal potted garden, the louvred bay window, etc. Through the journey, these interstitial spaces are extended and designed as an open-ended linear landscape, with furniture and spaces that allow users to occupy the (future) shophouse in various ways. The 5 foot way acts as a medium to slow down the pace of life and time. The installation facilitates the act of re-looking and speculating the linearity of the journey through the 5-foot way, and re-investigates these negotiations of thresholds and boundaries.

Fabric Forest by Jezamine Chua & Kendrick Tay



Location: The Quadrant (110 Arab St)

Fabric Forest seeks to enliven and enhance this leftover pocket of space by transforming it into a prominent gateway into the Kampong Gelam district, and laying a blank canvas for community adaptations, gatherings and pop-ups.

Drawing from the districtā€™s past as a stopover for pilgrims en route to Mecca, the installation is a euphony of canopies and tiered benches offering a myriad of grounds for spiritual respite under the majestic shade of the Angsana trees. The forest of fabrics encircling the trees enfolds and unveils with the ebb and flow of pedestrians, seeking to recapture the textile heritage and charm that continue to define Kampong Gelam today.

AF Exhibition


Venue: Festival House L1 (45, 47 Sultan Gate)
Date: 30 Sep to 28 Oct 2023, Tue to Sun (Closed on Mon)
Time: 10am to 8:30pm
Fee: Free Admission

The Archifest Exhibition is an annual staple of the festival that showcases new industry-shaping projects from Singapore and the region. This year, the AF Exhibition explores how architectureā€™s relationship with change and volatility shapes our buildings, cities, and environments. It seeks to provoke reflection and imagination on the possible modes of architectural action that open up once we begin to read our cities and its structures as mutable, by first acknowledging the effect of time on the city. The exhibition aims to encourage reflection and imagination on the modes of architectural action that can be born from the mutable city. It features a wide range of exhibitor works and projects, including contributions from the Archifest Curatorial Team, as well as designers and architects invited to contribute to notions of the ā€œInterimā€. The exhibition aims to give visitors the opportunity to playfully engage with the theme.

[NEW] AF Play!

Photo Credit:Ā Hidden SG!

  • Across Kampong Gelam
    • Race Day: 30 Sep 2023
    • 9am to 12pm
    • Free Registration
  • Evergreen Game
    • 1 Oct 2023 onwards
    • Available 24/7
    • Free Admission

Explore Kampong Gelam with Hidden SG!. For the first time, Singapore Archifest collaborates with Hidden Singapore to bring an immersive, outdoor exploration game to the heart of the festival in Kampong Gelam. Participants are led by a WhatsApp chatbot to discover the hidden stories of the urban district in a game or race setting, guaranteeing real fun in teams or simply as an urban explorer.

[NEW] AF Recommends

AF Recommends is a series of talks, workshops, showcases and engagements organised by partners and proudly presented by Archifest.

Tour: Architours

Venue: Various Locations

  • Architours 1
  • Architours 2
  • Architours 3
  • Architours 4
  • Architours 5
  • Architours 6

    Architours is a series of chaperoned tours around Singapore offering participants exclusive access to some of the cityā€™s best newly built architectural works, and includes behind-the-scenes tours and insights with the architect in person. Architours features a diversity of built projects, from residential homes to commercial spaces. Architours comprises 6 sessions of unique tours over 3 weekends, with each tour bringing participants to three sites.

    Architours is an annual crowd favourite at Singapore Archifest, open to industry professionals and the general public. Led by chaperons from The Architecture Society (TAS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Architours curate a series of hand-picked architectural works that are aligned with the festival theme and offer exclusive access into these architectural gems. Participants are invited to join an immersive experience that brings them closer than ever to selected architectural projects with the architects who brought them to life, as they share their insights on the processes of design and construction.

    Pickup point for all Architour sessions is the lobby of PARKROYAL on Beach Road.

    Workshop: Archicraft

    Archicraft is a series of fun, hands-on, creative crafting workshops run by SUTDioā€“the official student body representation of the Architecture and Sustainable Design Pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

    This yearā€™s workshopsā€“in line with the investigation of Interim cultures, environments, and technologiesā€“aim to explore adaptive techniques and expose the histories of traditional, local materials and landscapes. Workshop leaders will conduct short tours around Kampong Gelam to familiarise participants with the site context of the festival, before conducting the crafting sessions.

    • Paper Play by Curbside Crafters

    Photo Credit:Ā SUTDio

      • 21 Oct 2023
      • 11am to 2pm
      • Ticketed

    Participants are able to experience the joy of expressing themselves through Japanese paper cutting, or practising their dexterity by challenging themselves with the intermediate and expert paper cutting templates.

    • AI Art by Curbside Crafters
      • 22 Oct 2023
      • 11am to 2pm
      • Ticketed

    Using the text-to-image AI generating model Stable Diffusion, participants will speculate how Singaporeā€™s urban landscape of Kampong Glam may be remembered decades from now, like how old photos of Kampong Glam can be compared to its present day form. This will be done by generating modern photos taken by participants in Kampong Glam as old, aged photos akin to those taken in the 1970s and 1980s.

    • Printed Perspectives by Curbside Crafters

    Photo Credit:Ā SUTDio

      • 21 Oct 2023
      • 2pm toĀ  5pm
      • Ticketed

    This 2 part workshop firstly, aims to bring a new perspective of viewing heritage through technology and design to the general public. It will also walk them through the process of using a 3d printer as well as provide them with insights on how to make their own recycled PETG filament. This is in hopes of exposing the public to sustainability and technology, navigating through heritage and future.

    • Batik Basics by Curbside Crafters

    Photo Credit:Ā SUTDio

      • 22 Oct 2023
      • 12pm to 2pm
      • Ticketed

    In this workshop, participants will learn about the traditional form of Malay Batik, and then have a hands-on session to create their own batik piece on a tote bag. Traditional batik requires much time, specific tools, and poses several safety concerns in the wax removal process - factors that are a barrier to entry for beginners trying this art form. This workshop serves to reconnect the younger generations with this timeless craft by using methods that can be easily recreated at home, encouraging simple ways to reintroduce batik pieces back into daily life.

    • Fragmented Fusion by Curbside Crafters

    Photo Credit:Ā SUTDio

      • 21 Oct 2023
      • 4pm to 7pm
      • Ticketed

    Participants can expect to learn about theĀ historical and cultural significance of mosaic tiles and create their own mosaic product to bring home. Their mosaic creation is an interim product from material scraps that would usually end up in landfills, but now upcycled to create a functional and appealing object.

    • Craft Captures by Curbside Crafters
      • 22 Oct 2023
      • 3pm to 7pm
      • Ticketed

    In this workshop, learn about the art of linoĀ printmaking, taking reference from Kampong Gelamā€™s rich urban art. Participants will learn not just about lino craft as a technique, but also explore art murals and reinterpret them into lino art. You will get to bring back your very own stamped ā€œmural artā€ using lino printmaking!

    Exhibition: Reimagining Singaporeā€™s Industrial Landscape: Blue-sky Ideas for Rejuvenating Mature Estates

    Photo Credit: JTC

    Venue: URA Centre Atrium
    Date: now till 20 Oct 2023
    Time: 9am to 5pm (Closed on Sun)
    Fee: Free Admission

    To explore ways to optimise land, create new spaces for growth industries, and devise conducive work environments, JTC called for a Request for Proposal and invited local and international design professionals to submit concept proposals for the rejuvenation of two mature industrial estates: Yishun and Kallang-Kolam Ayer.

    This exhibition showcases the exciting blue-sky ideas that reimagine what manufacturing in a city can be. The ideas present different visions and strategies for brownfield redevelopment and the benefits it brings, including improved connectivity within the estates, injection of street life vibrancy, more greenery and biodiversity reintroduced into the urban fabric, as well as the creation of spaces that foster a sense of community.

    Tour + Talk: Insider Curatorsā€™ Tour of Archifest Festival House + Letā€™s Talk Lights! by Sol Luminaire

    Venue: Festival House L2 (45, 47 Sultan Gate)
    Date: 6 Oct 2023
    Time: 7.30pmĀ to 8.30pm
    Fee: Free registration

    Join Festival Director Calvin Chua as he gives a private tour of the Archifest Festival House and Exhibition. Learn about the design process and how different partners came together to support the exhibition.

    In this sharing and demonstration by Sol Luminaire, discover the nuances of how light transforms our spaces.

    Tour: Illuminating Tomorrowā€™s Spaces

    Venue: Sol Luminaire Galarie 5 (395 Guillemard Road Singapore 399791)
    Date: 18 Oct 2023
    Time: 5pm to 7pm
    Fee: Free Registration

    An exclusive Archifest invite ā€” Sol Luminaire invites you to explore innovative lighting solutions at our gallery. Gain insights into how our lights can complement your vision through cutting-edge circadian and smart lighting technologies that elevate designs.

    Workshop: Studio BTY Childrenā€™s Workshop

    Photo Credit:Ā Studio BTY

    Venue: Festival House L2 (45, 47 Sultan Gate)
    Date: 6 Oct 2023
    Fee: Ticketed Admission

    Imagine, cut out, paste and colour the paper model of a Shophouse in Singapore and think of some outdoor new spaces to create Ā« livable Ā» interstices.

    In a non-school and creative setting, children will discover architecture in a playful way. StudioBTY will guide them in their reflections so that they understand the traditional architecture of Singapore in a new light.

    The aim of this workshop is to introduce children to architecture in a few hours. The main activity consists in drawing and fabricating a paper model. The children will glue their own shophouse in paper with its characteristic elements as a base. Once done, they will think and imagine ways to create new spaces to form interstices. They will reimagine this traditional construction which is a feature of the Singaporean identity.

    [NEW]Ā AF Happenings

    Archifest brings together other events across Singapore that demonstrate acts of adaptation in our city. The AF Happenings sessions are a platform for deepening research and inquiry into architecture, culture and the city in an intimate setting. These sessions bring together thought-leaders across a variety of long-term topics in architecture, like built heritage, typology and consumer culture.

    Film Screening: Patricio Guzmanā€™s Chile Trilogy @The Projector

    Photo Credit: The Projector

    Venue: The Projector (6001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Tower)
    Dates & Times:Ā 

    • The Cordillera Of Dreams
      • 15 Oct 2023
      • 5pm
    • Nostalgia For The Light
      • 30 Sep 2023
      • 8pm
    • The Pearl Button
      • 8 Oct 2023
      • 5.30pm

    Fee: Ticketed Admission

    Performance: Silent Readings into the Future of Kampong by OH! Open House

    Photo Credit: OH! Open House

    Venue: Nature bank beside Masjid Malabar (471 Victoria St)
    Date: 30 Sep 2023
    Time: 5.30pm to 6pm
    Fee: Free Registration

    Performance: Chamber Music and Arts Singapore Open House

    Photo Credit:Ā Chamber Music and Arts Singapore

    Venue: Festival House L2 (45, 47 Sultan Gate)
    Date: 24 Sep 2023
    Time: 10am to 5pm
    Fee: Free Registration

    Performance: The Wright Stuff Festival by Toy Factory

    Photo Credit: Toy Factory

    Venue: Gateway Theatre Black Box
    Date: 15 Sep to 1 Oct 2023
    Fee: Ticketed Admission

    You may check out the full line-up of programmes via theĀ Archifest 2023 website.Ā 


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    This article is prepared by

    Leona Quek
    Blessed with 3 handsome and loving boys in her life. Two of them call her Mommy, the other calls her Wifey. Every night, she wishes for an early bedtime, but misses her babies as soon as they sleep.

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