Cities today look greener than before. Many new buildings come with terraces and rooftops landscaped with greenery. They are also installed with a host of energy-saving technologies that make them certified “green buildings”. Yet, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, the sector’s carbon emissions worldwide reached an all-time high in 2022. It is also not on track to achieve decarbonisation by 2050, and the gap between the sector’s climate performance and the pathway to decarbonisation is only widening.
Despite being touted as an “explosive book”, Socialism That Works… The Singapore Way has a surprisingly idyllic-looking cover. Featuring an aerial photograph of a tree-lined lagoon and greenery that stretches into the horizon, the book could be mistaken for a tourism brochure. Instead, this picture of East Coast Park fronts a 268-page publication that refutes “the many half-truths perpetrated by hostile parties” about Singapore, including the government’s detention of communists without trial and its controls on trade unions and the press.
Over 10 chapters, the country’s top politicians and trade unionists refuted the allegations and made a case for how successful Singapore had become under the rule of the People’s Action Party (PAP). East Coast Park was just one picturesque outcome. As Singapore’s newest and largest public recreational centre when Socialism That Works was released in 1976, the park showcase how the PAP had literally reshaped the island for modern play.
 ‘Socialism That Works… the Singapore Way’, The Business Times, 1 February 1977.
➜ Read the full story in The Singapore Architect #15 (May-August 2019)
When branding studio Somewhere Else was commissioned to transform Singapore’s oldest architecture journal into “the architect’s magazine,” there was one major rule: photographs were barred from the journal’s cover and kept small inside.
This principle was set out by The Singapore Architect’s new editor Hoo Cheong Fong, who believes that only fools think about architecture through photographs.
Under different editors and designers over the last five decades, this publication put out by the Singapore Institute of Architects had become too “commercial” instead of “craft-based” for the newly-appointed Fong, an architect by training, and his editorial team. “The way they presented architecture unfortunately was not through the eyes of how an architect presents architecture,” he explains.