The Inner Coast
by Rifqi Ashraf Bin Rosali
The sea no longer sustains inhabitation, and the island-city’s coastlines are out-of-bound territories. This thesis relooks at Singapore’s interiorised land-water edges—the inner coast—found along a hidden canal in the Clementi Forest. It forges new embodied sensibilities and reengages with vanishing archipelagic traditions of foraging.
The thesis is informed by my site walks into the Clementi Forest, where I follow the flow of water in the monsoonal drains, from its urban source to where it dissipates and merges within the wild and wooded topography, on its way out to the sea. This inner coast is portrayed through my embodied experiences of walking, touching, feeling, sensing, collecting, documenting, and experimentally installing detrital traps in the water. Reinterpreting the intimate relations that foragers have with the landscape, the thesis develops its tools to sense the site’s shifting topographies, highlighted through its socio-biological, and meteorological temporalities.
The interventions sit lightly within the canal. They amplify the silent movement of drain-waters and encroaching monsoonal storms, foraging urban detritus from the water. These instruments make tangible temporal cycles of maintenance, weather, and ecology. They renew our bodily engagements and ecological sensibilities with this inner coast.
Tutor's Notes // The Inner Coast rethinks disciplinary and territorial boundaries—not least because Rifqi’s project provides a reflexive means to rediscover the coastline within island-city Singapore. It reclaims what is often considered extraneous to architectural making, and uses disciplinary tools to express ways of seeing, giving value, and intervening with at-risk and undervalued landscapes. At the Clementi Forest canal, Rifqi utilises a designer’s sensibilities of making patterns and speculative ideas visible by articulating site-specific particularities and species-specific fragilities. His proposition boldly advocates that architecture reconsider how it should deal with and re-value its own interventions and output within these sensitive sites.