An empty Gillman Barracks on a rainy Tuesday afternoon reminded me of its struggles. Last year, 5 of 13 art galleries left this contemporary arts destination in Singapore, prompting questions about its future.
One answer was in the showcase I had come to review. Dwellings at Gillman: Homes for Artists and Researchers is a month-long display of speculative residences for the enclave – an imaginative alternate vision to its current setup of art galleries and restaurants.
Installed across four locations along the sheltered walkway of Gillman Barracks are 12 site-specific architectural models that came out of a workshop led by Roland Sharpe Flores and Dr Lillian Chee of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Architecture. Over five months, the duo led second-year undergraduates to seek out the “essence” of this former British army barracks and express it in residences that ultimately seek to “create an inclusive, nurturing ecosystem for the Singapore artistic scene.”