Singapore (1970s-1980s) / The Change of Housing Strategy

   In late 1970s-80s, apart from improvement of living conditions, HDB was also pursuing modernity for public housing. Some architectural means are applied to the design to increase the sense of nationalism among Singaporean. In initial stage, the housing estates are repetitive and monotonous because fast construction was what they aimed at and standardization is beneficial to it. Margaret Drive Flat which was built in 1960s is a typical example. In 1970s to 1980s, quality of space and different architectural motifs were considered in the housing design to improve the appearance. For instance, overhanging eaves, pitched roofs and other traditional ideas are used. Buildings within one housing estate are no longer the same, but vary to create a dynamic skyline. Inhabitants will feel the uniqueness of their home. There are curved shape Butterfly Block in Mei Ling Road(1973), Rochor Centre with colour facade (1977), cylindrical shaped Four Leaf Clover Flat in Ang Mo Kio (1981) and Sloping-Roof Flats in Potong Pasir (1982). The massing strategy and overall form changes from simple cubic shape to more variations.

Margaret Drive Flat (1960)
Margaret Drive Flat (1960)
 Butterfly Block, Mei Ling Road (1973)
Butterfly Block, Mei Ling Road (1973)
Rochor Centre (1977)
Rochor Centre (1977)
Four Leaf Clover Flat, Ang Mo Kio (1981)
Four Leaf Clover Flat, Ang Mo Kio (1981)
Sloping-Roof Flats,  Potong Pasir (1982)
Sloping-Roof Flats, Potong Pasir (1982)

   Aside from improving quality of units, the size of units were also increased during 1970s-80s. Old units were demolished to spare land for redevelopment. Some interior parti walls between two one-room emergency flats were removed to form a larger multi-room flat. For some old estates, new facilities were added to improve the living conditions so that the inhabitants from old estates would not feel that they are inferior to the counterparts from new estates. For new estates, each building includes different size of flat units. One-room to five-room units can be in the same housing estate and even buildings in order to balance the interaction between people of different backgrounds. In initial stage, each building usually only consists of one type of flat unit.

Reference:

Kong, L. and Yeoh, B S A. (2003) The Politics of Landscape in Singapore: Constructions of “nation”. New York: Syracuse University Press.

Suryadinata, L. (2000) Nationalism and Globalization: East and West. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asia Studies.

Wong, T-C., Yuen, Belinda. and Goldblum, C. (2008) Spatial Planning for a Sustainable Singapore. Singapore: Springer Science + Business Media.

Yeh, Y-T. (2009) Nation Politics of Public Housing Policy in Singapore. No.50. Taiwan: Journal of Geographical Research

1 Comment on “Singapore (1970s-1980s) / The Change of Housing Strategy

  1. It is very interesting to compare the public housing strategy of Singapore and Hong Kong, whereas you can find those in Singapore are visually and architecturally different from one another yet those in Hong Kong are like clone. It cannot tell whether which kind of housing tactic is right. However we can see there is a gradual modification and site consideration of the public housing in Singapore. To me, this kind of attitude is appreciable.

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