A Hut Amidst Skyscrapers


January 26, 2018





An art installation designed and created by a team of NUS Architecture Year 1 students currently stands proud in the Singapore civic district, having been selected and featured as part of the second edition of the Light to Night Festival organised by National Gallery Singapore, which runs from 19 to 28 January.

Named "Tropical Primitive Hut”, the outdoor art installation is decidedly more impressive than its humble name might suggest. Located on the Asian Civilisations Museum Green and accessible to the public, the illuminated white installation is set against Singapore’s urban skyline and explores the connections between people, architecture and the environment. 

For the team of students behind the art piece, this opportunity came up when they were just one semester into their studies at NUS. Relating the team’s experience, Year 1 NUS Architecture student Anna Cao said, "This project came as a pleasant surprise and really allowed us to have a first-hand experience of the entire architectural process, from initial design, structural considerations to the satisfaction of seeing the real-life manifestation of a design."

The creative process was challenging for the young newcomers to the field, as they had to grapple with turning an idea from a paper design to a real-life structure, as well as balancing a tight budget with fulfilling their design vision. “Thankfully our tutors Mr Ng Sanson and Mr Tomohisa Miyauchi were there to guide us through the process, allowing us to get a better grasp of the real world workings of an architect,” shared Anna.

The team shared that “Tropical Primitive Hut” was designed to invite individuals to experience Singapore’s tropical climate of sun, wind and rain in a more intimate and focused manner. It also offered a space for those working in the Central Business District to take a break amidst a long workday.

“We feel that architecture is about the people and the experience they get from thoughtful design, which ideally improves or brightens up their day. Thus it is very gratifying to be able to use design to contribute back to the community at such an early point in our architectural journey,” said Anna, summing up the team’s pride and joy at seeing their work on display.

The team of 12 students comprised Ng Jo-Wei, Joel; Fasihah Bte Mohamad Azhar; Ifran Dinnie Bin Zaihan; Leow Xing Ni; Wong Jia Xue, Clifton; Chew En Yi, Nigel; Zheng Liying; Wong Shinyin; Tan Wen Kai, Rafael; Teh Kai Wen, Winston; Leong Siew Leng; and Anna. Their creation is part of a diverse range of works of art, from visual art installations to music, dance and literary performances, which temporarily transformed the iconic civic district landmarks and spaces for two weekends.