Steel, gl, Starbucks, Uniqlo.
Looking out at the skyline to ballast ourselves in this altogether anatomic but absolutely all-encomping burghal we alarm me in the abreast future, what ability Singaporeans see?
Moshe Safdie's three phallic structures ascent out of Marina Bay, Russell Johnson's annoying Esplanade, Kis Kurokawa's Singapore Flyer - there's some specificity for you.
But while these structures were congenital to accomplish us attending good, were any of them congenital for us in any absolute faculty of the word?
They may comedy st to tourists, performers, celebrities and oil-sheikh millionaires, but they do not serve the uncle w slicks what's larboard of his beard aback with Brylcreem at 2.30pm afore staking out the bend table at the kopitiam downstairs, breadth he knows he will run into the hairdressing-salon auntie demography a backward cafeteria breach - active communities with actomed routines that cannot be replicated.
Money can buy the appearance of an all-embracing architect's aureate architectonics for Singapore, Dubai, Shenzhen or Seoul alike, for branding purposes played out on a apple stage, but money can't buy a amalgamate burghal bolt and the brighten of busy memory.
People's Park Circuitous (above), Golden Mile Tower and Pearl Bank Apartments are amid the aggressive postindependence developments that are abnormally Singaporean and anatomy the can-do spirit of the headiest of the country's nation-building times. PHOTOS: ST FILE, LIM YAOHUI
Money can't buy the appreciative appearance and amusing history of our post-independence landmarks, advised by bounded architectural pioneers.
"But we theorised," Japanese brilliant artist Fumihiko Maki said aloft aboriginal visiting People's Park Circuitous in the 1970s, "and you bodies are accepting it built!"
People's Park Complex, Golden Mile Tower (above) and Pearl Bank Apartments are amid the aggressive postindependence developments that are abnormally Singaporean and anatomy the can-do spirit of the headiest of the country's nation-building times. PHOTOS: ST FILE, LIM YAOHUI
These days, best all-embracing barrio in Singapore are advised to be e-maximising, environmentally friendly, visually beauteous or cost-saving. While these are important applied considerations, they aftereffect in barrio apprenticed by metrics, rather than ideas.
Professor Maki was afflicted because post-independence Singapore uced several aggressive developments - best prominently, People's Park Complex, Golden Mile Circuitous and Tower, and Pearl Bank Apartments, affectionately termed the Big Four - that approved to arrange abstraction and anatomy as set out in Metabolist and Brutalist architecture, activating interpretations of Le Corbusier's ideal of high-rise living.
People's Park Complex, Golden Mile Tower and Pearl Bank Apartments (above) are amid the aggressive postindependence developments that are abnormally Singaporean and anatomy the can-do spirit of the headiest of the country's nation-building times. PHOTOS: ST FILE, LIM YAOHUI
Whatever our claimed essment on their aesthetics, the Big Four are a adventurous admixture of western and eastern architectural theories, auiously reimagined for a bounded context.
Uniquely Singaporean, they anatomy the can-do spirit of the headiest of our nation-building times, and are a allotment of our abstract cultural ancestry - a accessible good.
PROTECTING PUBLIC GOODS FROM FREE MARKET
Right now, we accident accident our colloquial post-independence architectonics in one fell swoop.
Suld annihilation be done, the aggregate sales of the Big Four will all eventually go through, for absonant sums to clandestine developers.
I concede: In an able chargeless market, clandestine absorption is king.
I concede: There is annihilation that we can do as anxious citizens, anemic agents, disparate voices.
But I do not accept that the fate of these barrio in catechism is a amount of clandestine absorption - they are a accessible acceptable beneath blackmail - and I absolutely do not accept that our Government can do annihilation to ure a accessible acceptable from the chargeless market.
Architectural experts, amusing historians, ancestry enthusiasts and practising architects accept announced up on this. Will the accompaniment not footfall up to do added for our architectural heritage?
We cannot leave this up to advenious - aberration aggregate auction voting or benevolent developers - for the chargeless bazaar is never incentivised to avert a accessible good, and it is the role of centralised enies like governments to abate laissez-faire srtcomings.
PRESERVATION OF SITES AND MONUMENTS' ROLE
Altugh there is a attention administration aural the Burghal Redevelopment Autrity, their key operating noun is "Redevelopment", so let us about-face to the Civic Ancestry Lath (NHB), a approved lath of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) anecdotic itself as the "todian of Singapore's heritage".
Under NHB's advocacy is the Canning of Sites and Monuments (PSM) ision, "the civic ascendancy that advises on and provides for the canning of nationally cogent sites and monuments in Singapore".
Their 72 civic monuments accommodate the Istana, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, Fullerton Building, celebrated temples and mosques, and additionally Jurong Town Hall.
Built in 1974 - a year afterwards People's Park and Golden Mile Circuitous - Jurong Town Hall was declared a civic cairn by the PSM in 2015.
Ms Jean Wee, PSM's director, had this to say on that occasion: "Jurong Town Hall was congenital in the aboriginal decade of nation-building in Singapore, specifically, back we were in our beginning years of industrialisation. This battleground was the ignment of a beat aggregation of bounded architects.
"We accept fabricated a acquainted move to ample the gaps in our architectural ancestry timelines - activity above colonial structures, and including landmarks that reflect our own celebrated landscape.
"After 50 years, what helps ascertain us is our ancestry and our atude appear absent to ascertain it and bottle it."
These ardent words are acutely germane to the endangered Big Four. What is PSM's booty on them?
If PSM advised Jurong Town Hall to be "of historic, cultural, traditional, archaeological, architectural, aesthetic or allegorical acceptation and civic importance", what is the counter-evaluation and due activity that People's Park Complex, Golden Mile Circuitous and Tower and Pearl Bank Apartments accept not cleared?
Alternatively, why accept they not been considered?
If it is a categorical/bureaucratic stipulation, ability the ogue of "monument" charge to be widened?
Might it be all-important for NHB/PSM to agency an absolute evaluating anatomy they can argue with on their allegation and guidelines?
After all, PSM is the alike ascendancy which declared in 1999 that the iconic red-brick Civic Library did not accept "enough merit" to be adequate as a civic monument.
The library was again broken bottomward to accomplish way for a tunnel, alongside Stamford Road's realignment.
Even if - and abnormally - back a admirable anatomy ability be decidedly backbreaking to conserve, it is capital for PSM to advance for its gazetting.
PSM cannot abandoned accept to conserve barrio which are already agreeable appear accepting ancestry cachet afterwards controlling hiccups: state-owned structures (such as Jurong Town Hall), structures that do not sit on acreage appropriate for redevelopment by addition approved board, and/or structures abreast endemic by a distinct eny, which charge not ace as abounding backbreaking layers of stakelders, as in strata-led barrio like the Big Four.
Indeed, an able resolution for the closing can abandoned be initiated, brokered and accomplished by a committed approved board, in aing accord with added autritative multi-enies, exploring mechanisms like tax rebates, discounts in development charges, or aliment subsidies that allay bazaar accident incurred by clandestine developers and/or owners w accept to attention as potentially appointed - and accurate - by the state.
"We achievement not abandoned to abide advancing (PSM's) aals added conscientiously," said PSM's lath administrator Tham Tuck Cheong, in a columnist absolution back PSM -previously its own (smaller) approved lath - aboriginal alloyed with NHB, "but in a way that is accelerating and proactive".
How has amalgamation with NHB (best accepted for its cultural ignment with museums and exhibitions) afflicted PSM's remit?
Does its scope, account (PSM's Monuments Armamentarium - subsidising aliment of gazetted structures - is a acceptable s, but aftermost year, its account was a bashful $2.2 million, admitting anniversary aliment ignment on Pearl Bank Apartments abandoned was in balance of $1 million), manpower or anatomy accept to be adjusted?
What can MCCY do to added empower PSM's ambit, for it to argue with the circuitous challenges of its declared mission alike added listically, in a time of active redevelopment?
Once, in a dream, I sat beneath the arresting cantilevered roof of the Civic Theatre.
Did you apperceive that the bristles credibility of its diamond-shaped bluff were meant to represent the bristles stars on our flag? That the semi-circular alfresco bubbler was the bow-shaped moon?
Designed by bounded architects to admire our self-governance in 1959, added than a third of its architectonics costs was aloft by actomed Singaporeans chipping in.
Opened in 1963, it was burst in 1986 because defects were begin in its roof, and to accomplish way for allotment of the Central Expressway.
Years afterwards its demolition, NHB/PSM apparent the breadth a "Heritage Site", for "signifying a spirit of self-help and nationod in the aboriginal canicule of nation-building".
They erected two "Heritage Markers" advantageous admiration to the Civic Theatre, one with a aglow write-up, the added a pictographical representation.
Recently, the two actual markers were removed to accomplish way for Fort Canning MRT Station.
"We appee anybody to apperceive that the walls of anniversary cairn boom with pages of our history and the bodies abaft them," PSM's Ms Wee said.
Indeed, a faculty of acceptance is acutely abiding in abode - accompanying accurate and intangible.
With the abiding changes in Singapore's concrete mural and amusing dynamics, abundant is at stake.
The brawl is in the Government's court.
And if the point bouncer coses to p, let us not, in 50 years, undertake a "Memory Project" memorialising the Big Four, angry to dust on our watch.
Let us not wax agreeable about the best pad thai we anytime had at Golden Mile Complex.
Let us not agency a doentary on People's Park Complex, behemoth of South-east Asian Brutalist architecture.
Let us not clue bottomward the founders of The Projector, the admired absolute cinema at Golden Mile Tower, to aces their accuracy on agriculture artistic ortment in binding locales.
Let us not armamentarium the embly of hipster badges featuring ilrations of the allegorical rsese-shaped Pearl Bank Apartments.
Let us not be bystanders to the abolition of things we autrity baby - things that accomplish us us - while there is still time to booty action, and again some years bottomward the road, back it is able-bodied and absolutely futile, admit twee endeavours to bacch in cursory mesickness about tse losses.
Before we are asked to accept an ideny, to reflect on ties that bind, to booty pride, to procreate, to pledge, let us accept article to appear me to that is ours.
If this is me, truly, it suld attending like me.
It suld feel like me.
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