Something for both architecture nerds and novices

Another year, another edition of Archifest—Singapore’s annual festival celebrating architecture and the built environment. The festival, which takes place from Sep 28-Oct 10 this year, has been taking steps over the years to be a little more accessible to the general public; last year’s edition featured photo exhibitions and an edible installation of food. 2018 is going one step further, with more than 50 events in admittedly more mainstream programming to bring the community closer.

In light of all the recent conversations about en bloc, local architecture, built heritage and conservation, the festival has chosen to ground its programming in the theme “Design for Life”, which aims to highlight the more human aspects of architecture. For one, this 12th edition will see the return of the popular Archifest Pavilion, which was scrapped last year in a budgeting effort despite its prominence as a key highlight of the festival.

The Pavilion has typically been a hit with the crowds for its camera-friendly quality. While previous editions include a massive rainbow pavilion by DP Architects in 2016, this year’s set-up takes inspiration from a typical HDB void deck design—a bid to celebrate the original and most important communal spaces in Singapore. Aside from displaying exhibition works, it will also house a mural that the public can contribute to. For a fee you can paint on the bricks using color testers; the final image will show the to-be-demolished Rochor Centre (which frankly by now sounds contrived, but hopefully still gets the point across).

An artist's impression of the Archifest Pavilion 2018 by Kite Studio Architecture

All the other programs fall neatly into three categories. Design for People hopes to re-look at creating spaces that actually promote people’s health, happiness and well-being—and is probably the most accessible category to the everyday man. Of the line-up, check out an exhibition on inclusive designing for the Silver Generation, place-making pop-ups at the Pavilion, and even a designers-meet-music enthusiasts party organized by underground music label Darker Than Wax, at Intermission Bar. There will also be a mini film festival at The Projector, a first for Archifest, curating five films that explore people-centric design through stunning cinema.

Flats, which will screen at The Projector

Design for Time will address the lifespan of building design and modern architecture, and includes talks and exhibitions that cover topics from Parasite Architecture to adaptive reuse to refurbishing shophouses—Singapore’s favorite structure to preserve. If you aren’t keen on joining the dialogue about conservation of modern history, then join the one on Design for Environment, which comprise talks, workshops and exhibitions that look at architecture’s role in promoting a sustainable community and lifestyle.

And of course, you can look forward to Archifest staples like the SIA Annual Conference—which this year brings together 13 industry bigwigs—and the hot favorite ticketed Architours. For the latter, choose from eight in-depth tours around buildings like award-winning The Warehouse Hotel, nostalgic Dakota Crescent, as well as private residences like Meandering On the Hill and Stark House.

Archifest 2018 runs from Sep 28-Oct 10 at various locations. More information here.