Tan Chin Hwa
The proposal questions Singapore’s self-proclaimed title of a “city in a garden”. Faced with land scarcity and the competing spatial demands for development and rapid population growth, Singapore’s coastal ecosystems have been a depository for the island’s pollution-laden and unsightly industrial activity. The industrialised coastlines have led to the fragmentation and degradation of natural coastal systems.
The proposal has identified Sembawang Shipyard as a point of interest. Throughout its history, human activities have transformed the biologically diverse wetland and mangrove habitat into an industrialised landscape. By 2024, it is expected that the shipyard will be redeveloped as part of the Northern Innovation Corridor.
However, current development strategies such as “Green” and “Sustainable” design are inadequate as the human developments are often conceived as independent from nature therefore the potential improvement on overall sustainability and resilience of all systems is not achieved. This coupled with the rich and complex history of the site, raises an important contextual conundrum in the pursuit of overall sustainability and system resiliency. Which is more important and valuable – the site’s original ecological condition or the site’s rich history as a shipyard?
In attempt to achieve some form of balance, the proposal seeks to reconcile the challenge of restoring the environmental condition while retaining the site’s naval history by addressing the apparent disconnection between human development and nature.
Situated within one of the Dry-docks, the Regeneration Machine stands as a monumental relic of the site’s maritime heritage and past; and a regenerative catalyst that restores the site’s ecological health. The Regeneration Machine is a repurposed ship that serves as an ecological infrastructure which reimagines urban wastewater as a renewable resource for the production of food fish for sustenance and the cultivation of mangroves for the restoration of the degraded coastline.