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.
Through a lens of social and architectural histories, the book uncovers the many untold stories of the Southeast Asian city-state’s modernization, from the rise of heroic skyscrapers, such as the Pearl Bank Apartments, to the spread of utilitarian typologies like the multi-storey car park. It investigates how modernism, through both form and function, radically transformed Singapore and made its inhabitants into modern citizens. The most intensive period of such change happened in the 1960s and 1970s under the rise of a developmental state seeking to safeguard its new-found independence. However, the book also looks both earlier and later, from between the 1930s to the 1980s, to cover a wider range of histories, building types and also architectural styles, expanding from the International Style and Brutalism and into Art Deco and even a touch of Postmodernism.
High-rise housing may dominate Singapore’s skyline, but its homes have traditionally been more grounded. Dream Spaces brings you access to these remarkable properties, retracing their origins and transformation. Each episode explores a housing type and living ideal — the shophouse, the kampong house, the black and white bungalow, historic mansions as well as multi-generational living — to learn how they have been transformed for modern lifestyles, and continue to influence the shape and form of the Singapore house today.