Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A stroll in the mist – Side B

The photo essay Singapore - sustainability in the mist is still attracting some admirers. Below are some further photos and light commentary about my impression of Singapore with an eye to the environment and sustainability.

The first photo shows a different angle of the misty walk illustrating the large expanse of heat retaining concrete in this area. As mentioned in the previous photo essay, the cooling ability of the misting pipe is limited – especially given its height – and the amount of wind. Unfortunately, to work as hoped this sculpture needs to take the risk of actually inconveniencing the public with the possibility of actual dampness. On the opposite side of the bay is a purpose built stadium for the events planned for this area.  stroll in the mist sculpture singapore

The entrance to the Marina Bay Sands recreational shopping arena featured this very large aluminium awning, no doubt designed to keep the concrete protected. There was some rain about on the days I visited but sadly I could not see how this awning performed in a shower. If someone has seen this thing in the wet can you please post a comment. I am interested to know whether the thing a). closes and b). effectively acts as a roof.

large aluminium veranda singapore marina

Below this is possibly the largest plastic hand basin I have seen. The second ring down appears to contain water jets. These did not operate while I stood there watching people attempt to roll coins into the giant plug hole. Tip: roll your coin around the bowl not straight towards the hole – worked first time for me. While a slightly interesting piece of “sculpture” you have to wonder about the embodied energy.

Is it some cryptic visual message about money laundering at the casino – or does that not happen in Singapore?

large plastic bowl shaped sculpture

At the far end of the site is perhaps the most over engineered piece of stainless and plastic I have seen. There appears to be no risk of unforeseen oscillations (a la London's millennium bridge) and while it is cleverly engineered with the counter oriented inner and outer spirals resembling an umbilical cord – it is slightly ugly.

And what does it all mean? Is the casino a  (tripartite God) child about to leave the womb (bay area) of the mother (Singapore), and the people are offering a sacrifice (money) at the great basin?

stainless steel umbilical foot bridge

As a counterpoint to all this, it is worth taking the MRT out to Bugis Square, immediately exiting the large generic shopping complex and head east to the Arab quarter; one of the very few remaining places where you can see what the old Singapore was like.


It’s not Paris, but a far more human and walk able scale.

arab street quarter singapore

This area had some nice old style boutiques and a very nice Mediterranean/Middle Eastern meal was enjoyed here.

heritage housing singapore

The following picture illustrates the reality of modern “sustainable” Singaporean living for most. You live in a  box in sector 7 B.

high rise accomodation and  mass transit

While many Singaporean streets do have some green verges, and this is commendable, it has a distinctive style. All very open woodland English country park. As I visited from Indonesia, I was surprised by the complete absence of Bananas, Papaya, Bamboo and Mangoes. There is very little undergrowth, just grass.

The upshot of this is that this style has less water holding capacity than it could have. The picture below from the University of Singapore Campus shows the area around the buildings (near one of the libraries) incised with very deep concrete drainage channels designed to transport the water as quickly as possible to the concrete main channels – recently demonstrated as unable to cope. An alternative in “upland" areas like this might be to site several small dams along this gully to slow the water down. Using less concrete in the rest of the city would also help.

park university of singapore

Below is a picture from the Chinese Gardens. The same thing. If you live in the high density housing nearby (across the lake) you can come to the park…

chinese gardens singapore

… but you can’t do much.

banned activities in chinese park singapore

I was especially taken by the banning of kite flying by the Taliban Singaporean Officials.

1 comment:

Big Gav said...

Kite flyers are as bad as spitters and gum chewers !