Singapore Archifest 2020 first hybrid edition goes virtual in the midst of pandemic

Dr Chong Keng Hua, Festival Director of Singapore Archifest 2020. Image credit to Ministry of National Development (NMD).

The annual Singapore Archifest 2020 virtual edition is organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) will be rolling out varied online and offline programmes that range from decentralized pop-up experiences that reimagine the way we live, to virtual exhibitions, forums, film screenings, workshops and an immersive virtual Pavilion that pushes the frontier of sustainable design − all to celebrate architecture and the built environment.

This year’s theme is Architecture Saving OUR World. Directed by Dr. Chong Keng Hua, SUTD Associate Professor and Founding Partner of COLOURS. The theme focuses on new ideas and responsible designs that address today’s most pressing issues such as climate change, food shortage and public health, even as humanity continues to battle against COVID-19.

“This is a year of many firsts for the festival. Not only are we taking on a hybrid format, but also introducing a decentralised Singapore Archifest with smaller pop-up programmes to feature ground-up initiatives and projects across the island. Architecture impacts us all, and we want the festival to be an opportunity for everyone − whether architects, designers or those looking for something exciting to do over the weekend − to be able to join in the fun and participate in a collective effort to save our world through architecture,” shared Dr. Chong Keng Hua, Festival Director of Singapore Archifest 2020.

Singapore Archifest takes place from 25 September to 31 October 2020 at various locations across Singapore and online at

Virtual Pavillion

This year’s SIA-LES Archifest Pavilion Design was a collaboration between ADDP Architects and OWIU Design’s Principals and Founders – Joel Wong and Amanda Gunawan.

Titled Reclaiming Connectivity and inspired by Amanda’s photos on abstraction of natural landscape, the Pavilion’s design uses photography print on Light Emitting Surfaces (LES) glass to capture the subtle details of water as an attempt to distort its original way of being perceived. Similarly, the Pavilion’s concept of Reclaiming Connectivity is a relook at what is current, and aims to inspire reflections on humanity’s innate need for connection, juxtaposed against the current reality of social distancing in public spaces.

In the virtual Pavilion, ADDP and OWIU Design showcase their imagination by creating the ideal form and structure of the Pavilion online, in the absence of any economic or environmental restrictions. Festival goers can expect to explore a virtual Pavilion that allows them to examine the structure through an interactive 3D tour that offers up 360 degree views, right from the comfort of home.

Virtual exhibits

The exhibits are curated in 3 categories of Our Shelters, Our Stories and Our Sanctuary, while acknowledging that many of the works span across these categories:

  • Our Shelters focuses on novel approaches towards architectural typologies, use of materials, as well as fabrication techniques, in responding to emerging societal,environmental and public health needs.
  • Our Stories highlights process-driven architectural design and planning that uncover latent human needs, engage stakeholders, and empower communities.
  • Our Sanctuary zooms in on how we may rethink the urban landscape, and how this may contribute to ecology and local food production, and in building food resilience before the next crisis.

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