Wong Tian Hong (Hellooo)
Designing has always been a big part of my life.
Since young, I have been designing through my drawings, my lego blocks, and of course my wild imaginations. I have never lost that imagination of mine from a young and it has accompanied me through the years of being a design student. I had my ups and downs through all the design projects I have done but one most important thing that I have learned is to never stop learning because that is when your potential to create is endless.
The project that I am presenting is based on how the pandemic situation has affected the daily lifestyles of everyone which I will speculate on how our homes and surroundings will evolve, bringing about a new way of living.
Families and Communities living during the Pandemic
The sudden hit of the pandemic on humanity put the world into huge distress. New challenges and changes have interfered with our daily lives. One most significant change that I felt great that definitely affected many people is the freedom to engage in social interaction.
From the beginning of the pandemic until the current situation, I have constantly observed how my neighborhood responded to the situation. I believed everyone started to put more attention to kinship and friendship. Things that we used to take for granted as it is always readily available has suddenly appeared so important and valuable.
Hence, my project is to focus on the idea of bringing people together within families and communities that we have built over time during the context of the pandemic. I hope my project will allow people to continue to appreciate the importance of relationships between families, friends, and neighbors.
The project itself contains 3 segments.
The 1st part of my project focuses on the interior of the HDB flat under the context of the lock-down period during the pandemic. The aim is to create a flexible and multifunctional space to fit the needs of the current of people living in HDB flats.
The 2nd part of my project is about creating a vertical corridor that allows circulation across the HDB block. As the pandemic situation improves, the need for outdoor spaces and social interaction increases. In addition to it, my HDB block does not have a void deck or common area for interaction.
The 3rd part of the project acts as a continuation of part 2 which focuses on the connectivity between HDB blocks.
Flexible Living Space
The first part of the project investigates the problems arise from the pandemic. The aim is to create and design living spaces in response to the pandemic issue, in order to satisfy and better accommodate the different needs of people due to the sudden change of lifestyle due to the lock-down period.
As the lifestyles of people revolve around their own homes now, the few main needs of the people that will be focused on are defined spaces, private and communal spaces, and flexibility within spaces.
What I hope to achieve is to create a space that will be beneficial and feasible for the people at its best potential towards the new lifestyle as a result of the pandemic. Space will focus more on the overall wellbeing of people, allowing them to dwell and engage in activities normally even without leaving their homes such as working, exercising, hobbies, and playing.
Most importantly, to me, a home is meant for a family to be able to live comfortably and happily together. Space should allow every member of the family to engage in their personal activities and also activities together so to promote the idea of living harmoniously.
This space is supposed to allow people to better sustain themselves within their own homes during covid-19 but it is also a workable space for people even after or without a pandemic scenario hence it will be a long-lasting design.
Over 80% of the Singapore population stays in HDB hence hopefully this project can introduce a new configuration of interior space within HDB flats to better fit the needs of the current during the pandemic.
Having lived there for a long period of time, I have experienced physically and emotionally how it feels to be in a HDB flat. I am also very familiar with my neighbors and I am able to understand how they felt during the lock-down period besides my own family.
In Commonwealth Close, the older HDB flats have also a smaller typology. During the lock-down, being isolated in a smaller space compared to a larger space is more detrimental to a person’s wellbeing hence I feel there is a need to reconfigure the original space to make it more breathable for the occupants.
My HDB estate was built around 1960 to 1966 when Singapore was gaining independence while solving the problem of the shortage of houses, a problem brought forward during the British Colonial rule. As it was a rush and an immediate action, the HDB flats being built only focus on fulfilling the basic needs of the people required in the house. Therefore, I feel that there was a lack of consideration towards the wellbeing of the people living within the space, and the lock-down when people are isolated within their homes for long periods of time has caused them much discomfort.
The second part of the project is to investigate and speculate the current situation of the pandemic progressing from the first project. As the pandemic situation slowly heads towards a better outcome, there is an increase in the need for social interaction and gathering of family and friends. As I have worked within the interior space of the HDB flat, I decided to look into the exterior spaces of it.
This led me to speculate the design and creation of a space within the block of flats to allow people to have social interaction and connecting them together vertically. I want to create a warm and comfortable space that is totally opposite of the cold hard concrete of a HDB building. A new space that is never seen within the typology of the HDBs could show a strong contrast.
The main focus that I would want to bring out of this project is how space could bring out the intimacy between people across the whole block.
With the ongoing pandemic, hopefully, this project can remind everyone to better appreciate the kinship and relationship they have.
The third expansion of this project acts as a continuation of part 2 of the project. The main objective of my project is to be able to bring people together and have the social interaction people need. With that being said, there are friends and families that actually live in the HDB blocks that are right beside each other.
Since I have designed to connect people vertically across a block, I have decided to bridge the connection between 2 blocks together to widen the radius of interaction within the community.
Part 1 of the project starts within a home, Part 2 works with the whole block, and Part 3 is about starting a connected community. I believe that the pandemic, it has caused many families and friends unable to see each other for a long period of time. Hopefully, this project can reflect how everyone felt when going through the pandemic.
Part 3 of the project will be the conclusion of my project and for my project as a whole, I just want this project to be a meaningful project for everyone that sees it.