“It’s not just looking at the flaws, like what is not working, which is very much a part of the nature of design — what doesn’t work, let’s fix it. But it’s also looking at what already works, and can we create spaces that can use these skills and celebrate them.” — Jan Lim, co-founder of Participate in Design , on what participatory design is all about.
Deep below the iconic Marina Bay lies the world’s largest district cooling system (DCS) that runs 24/7.
Drivers whizzing by Bayfront Avenue would most likely miss it. Standing next to the towering Marina Bay Sands hotel is a boxy structure that could well be a mirage. Shimmering in the sunlight is a curtain of aluminium flappers seemingly dancing with the wind — a mesmerising sight that camouflages the cooling tower of the world’s deepest district cooling system in plain sight.
Underneath this tower wrapped in a screen by the artist Ned Kahn is a plant that produces chilled water, which is five storeys and extends to 25m deep. The only other sign of this round-the-clock operation is a silver-on-silver sign of the “Singapore District Cooling Pte Ltd” tucked underneath Bayfront Avenue. Located just steps away from the Helix Bridge and the ArtScience Museum, this rectangular plaque points towards an off-white door: the entrance to the underground facility that keeps Singapore’s business district cool in its tropical climate.