Archive for January, 2010

Split Decision

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Dramatically redefining the developing skyline of Singapore, the urban garden linking across the three 55 story hotel towers of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort is taking shape.

Running a quick poll among today’s taxi drivers, it seemed the most popular description of the project was “the banana split”. Word has it that a few voices on the design review board were of the same opinion but lost out to Singapore’s growing appetite for the sweet things in life.

Workplace Safety

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

I can’t help thinking that this model wasn’t given an adequate site safety induction.

Surely she must have know the dangers of working on a construction site without a hard hat. The text to the right read The Sky is Not the Limit. It  certainly didn’t say the sky was a dangerous place with loose light fittings that can swing down and knock you unconscious.

Ilumanating

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

The linkbridge on WOHA’s Iluma project in Singapore has been completed. The elevated bridge contains small retail outlets and spans Victoria Street, giving pedestrians a direct route into Bugis Junction.

Transformers Too

Monday, January 18th, 2010

There’s a limit to the number of old Star Trek episodes you can watch on a long haul flight without succumbing to the temptation of sitting down low in your seat and shouting loudly “I canna hold her much longer Capt’n! She’s breaking up!” in a broad Scots accent.

So it came to be that I watched a good portion of Transformers 2 before being saved by our final descent into Singapore.

I’ve long admired the Public Utilities Building, in Somerset Road. Designed in 1971 by the now defunct Group 2 Architects, this was a robust example of the Brutalist style. Recently however, the PUB has undergone something of a transformation itself and has emerged, re-clad in a shiny new suit.

While the original forms have been retained, the sharper edges and crisp material give it the appearance of a giant yet sleek machine. I just can’t figure out whether it’s friendly or not.

Just across the road, the massive Orchard Central retail centre has now opened. It too, seems to be made of an unspecified series of folded panels. Perhaps it could simply eject all the empty tenancies and make itself smaller?

Phoning It In

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

As always, the prevailing weather plays a big role in the success of each day. The Bangkok forecast that day was for passing showers in the afternoon. Dutifully the clouds thickened, the air seemed to thicken and the breeze picked up, carrying with it the smell of the impending rains. And right then, the moment of truth….. that moment when you must decide “do I stay or do I go?”

It’s only a quick shower, right? I mean, it will blow through soon enough?

When the first enormous drops began to pound the pavement, it quickly became obvious that I had made totally the wrong call in electing to stay. But we were a hundred meters from decent shelter and further still from the safe confines of the hotel (where our cumbersome umbrellas lay resting). Weighed down with camera kits and laptops, simply running for it wasn’t an option. As a result, we spent the next hour and a half cowering in a nearby row of public telephone booths to remain, even if only partially, out of the torrential and relentless storm that ensued.

Chicken Rise

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Combing the back streets of downtown for a vantage point on WOHA Designs’ The Met, we got a taste of the real Bangkok. I’m always intrigued by the stunning visual contrasts between the new and old ways of life in developing cities. With no multi story buildings to access, peering above fences provided the only opportunity for the views we needed. This particular spot came with the added potential for on-site catering from a street vendor selling fresh fried chicken. At least it looked like chicken and I’m sure the oil was only a few weeks old.

We passed on lunch for a variety of reasons. One could elaborate but that might involve letting the cat out of the bag.

Plan B

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

There’s always another way to do something.

And we seemed to have tried them all.