1000 singapores: a model of the compact city at venice architecture biennale
1000 singapores: a model of the compact city at venice architecture biennale 1000 singapores: a model of the compact city at venice architecture biennale
sep 09, 2010

1000 singapores: a model of the compact city at venice architecture biennale

exhibiting at the 12th architecture biennale in venice is ‘1000 singapores: a model of the compact city‘, the city-state’s official national pavilion for the kazuyo sejima-directed international event. located in the courtyard and gallery space of the istituto provinciale per l’infanzia, the exhibition features a 35-meter long physical model, which takes a slice through the singaporean landscape at a scale of 1:1000.

image © designboom (also main image)



in the 50 years since self-governance, singapore has transformed itself into one of the world’s most globalized and multi-cultural city. as the fourth leading financial centre in the world, it has experienced–and is still experiencing–a rapid growth, both in terms of the economy and population. five million residents currently reside in the city-state, which is a land mass of only 710 square kilometres. and with a future projected population of 6.5 million, the urban and social infrastructure have adapted to embrace compactness and density as the country’s system and armature.

image © designboom



‘1000 singapores: a model of the compact city’ illustrates the positive implications of the dense city, and how compactness can translate to the most sustainable urban form for the future. the 1:1000 model, which runs through the middle of the long corridor-like space, slices through a wide variety of landscapes, housing typologies, programmes, and densities, holistically exhibiting a city, while denser than most, features a surprising amount of openness. the exhibition aims to present singapore as a prototype, a way to approach sustainable development by embracing urban compactness while still sustaining–and even facilitating–liveability and social equity.

35 meter long model at 1:1000 scale
image © designboom

a section of the model
image © designboom

detail of a mass housing project
image © designboom



the made-to-measure exhibition space is essentially a 30-metre long architectural tube, produced in super-lightweight EIFS, a typical construction material used in south-east asia which is highly recyclable. a repeating, custom-moulded series of ventilation blocks shelters the exhibition in a perforated and open manner. another feature of ‘1000 singapores’ is the panoramic postcards of singapore exhibited along the entire length of the model. one thousand in all, they provide glimpses of the singaporean landscape, architecture, culture and people, collectively becoming a lively portrait of a city transitioning into nationhood.

exhibited postcards on the ventilation block walls
image © designboom

moshe safdie’s ‘marina bay sands‘ in singapore
image © designboom

ventilation block walls
image © designboom

exhibited photographs of singapore
image © designboom

image © designboom

image © designboom

exhibited postcards with statistics
image © designboom

exhibited photographs of singapore
image © designboom

ethnic makeup of singapore
image © designboom

diagram of singapore’s population housed in HDB flats
image © designboom

postcard of the curators
image © designboom

the curatorial and design team
(from left to right) belinda huang, khoo peng beng, erik g. l’heureux, florian schaetz
portrait © designboom

jeffrey ho, commissioner and director of designsingapore council
portrait © designboom



full credits:


commissioned by: designsingapore council
chairman, designsingapore council: robert tomlin
director & commissioner: jeffery ho
co-commissioner & president, singapore institute of architects: ashvinkumar
deputy director & project director: yeo piah choo
curatorial and design team:
head curator: khoo peng beng
curator: belinda huang
curator and designer: erik g. l’heureux
curator and designer: florian schaetz

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