Workaround: Capitalism, Society, and the Architecture of Work
M.Arch 1 Studio | AY2020-21 Semester 2
by Rachel TOH
In relation to Keller Easterling’s Extrastatecraft, active forms such as switches and multipliers are employed to alter the disposition within the infrastructure space. This is analysed along Bruno Latour’s Actor Network Theory (ANT) on the study of network of relationships between social and natural world. Architecture often deals with weather elements, and greenery through the rising emphasis on green plot ratio, neglecting the third component activating this ecosystem - bees.
Bees play an important role in shaping a sustainable urban ecology, supporting the lives it. Capitalising on the nation’s shift towards “city in nature” that aims to reinvigorate the urban with landscape and reconstruct natural habitats, this thesis is a critique on the unproductive urban parks in Singapore in response to the government’s 30 by 30 goal through an urban time device that utilises bees as a bioindicator for the weather, climate and ecology.
Office workers in the CBD often rely on laundromats to do their laundry especially during wet weather. Singapore has an average of 167 days of rain, often lasting several hours apart from a few instances of continuous days of monsoon rain. Taking advantage of the tropical sun and benefits of sundrying laundry, office workers can now hang their wet laundry in the urban park with the bee clock as an indicator of the wet weather to come.
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[ Hiveway ] by Rachel TOH & Elisabeth CHOO Jia Min
This project begins by interpreting Bruno Latour’s readings on the Actor Network Theory and Keller Easterling’s active forms in the extrastatecraft, through the exploration of the interplay of relationships and the network between the actors and actants within this capitalistic economy. The chosen work type is bees in relation to climate and environment. The idea of elevating the relationship between bees, climatic conditions and environment as they work together to produce agricultural crops and honey is the result of this work type.
The site is within the Central Business District (CBD). The reason for this decision is to relate the work of beekeeping back into Singapore’s domestic cultivation context. As Singapore does not have a strong beekeeping community at the moment and with its rapid urbanization injected with green spaces, it’s about exploring the possibilities of bolstering and extending the work of beekeeping to the masses, enabling the public to be beekeepers and to foster the bee population in Singapore.
The proposed program for this project is an urban farm. In the larger scheme of things, it considers its environmental, social and economic impact in the long run and seeks to explore the effects of personal honey harvesting within the capitalistic society. However, the architecture focuses on designing for the bees as the protagonist. The urban farm forms part of the spatial conditions for both bees and people. Whilst the bees have a curated environment for them to function in, the people within the CBD are able to observe the bees in their habitat and get to know more about the sequence of processes behind their food products.
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