Cover Floating Music School by Kunle Adeyemi of NLE Works, one of the speakers for the SIA Archifest Conference (Image courtesy of: NLE Works and Kriolscope)

Looking to fill out your October calendar? Archifest 2021 returns with a month-long lineup of exciting events, installations, and workshops that highlights the beauty of architecture

The annual local Architectural Festival (Archifest) in Singapore returns this year from Oct 1 to Oct 31. Veering away from the usual festival approach of housing most of the activities within a single location, the month-long festival this year will see more than 100 events strategically taking place in a hybrid format across decentralised locations—whether it’s online or along various parts of the island. In accordance with current Covid-19 safe management measures, each individual event will accommodate a lower number of attendees. 

Organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), Archifest is centered around the belief that beautiful designs can be found nearly everywhere. This year’s theme, Design Evidence, adopts an inquisitive attitude towards discovering how architects design and create value in today’s world.

In its 15th edition, the festival is designed to be an open and inclusive invitation that’s catered towards all ages and interest groups. There’s something for everyone—whether you’re a budding architect or a design enthusiast. Through its annual conference, interactive events, and eye-opening exhibitions, the festival aims to encourage one to delve deeper into the world of design via five key lenses: arts and culture, community and inclusivity, environment and sustainability, history and heritage, and technology and methods.

With an extensive array of creative and informative programmes, we’ve picked out some key highlights for you to catch at the festival. 

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1. SIA Archifest Conference

The anchor programme of Archifest is the annual main conference; held on Oct 12 to 14, the three-day event will see esteemed names across the design and architecture fields gather virtually to discuss all things design, including the future of human-centric cities, ecosystems and new technologies, how sustainability plays a notable role, and even building on other planets.

The diverse range of speakers that are based locally and worldwide include names the likes of Shanghai-based architect Rossana Hu, founding partner of renowned inter-disciplinary architectural design practice Neri&Hu; Nigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi, founder and principal of NLÉ, an Amsterdam-based architecture, design and urbanism practice; as well as architect and associate professor Ong Ker Shing, who’s the co-founder and director of homegrown practice Lekker Architects as well as the director of the BA Architecture Programme at NUS.

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2. Archifest on Screen

Film buffs can enjoy a series of design documentary screenings at The Projector. As part of Archifest, the local indie cinema has specially curated a selection of inspiring documentaries that aim to showcase various creative processes and how architecture and design can drive social change and community building.

Films to watch out for include an eye-opening insight into the journey of French designer and architect Charlotte Perriand, who’s known for her distinguished collaborations with Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, as well as a captivating documentary that delves into the life of one of the greatest modern architects of all time, Alvar Aalto, alongside his wife Aino Aalto, a celebrated architect herself.

3. Archicraft: Singapore’s Historical Buildings: Styles & Models

Hosted by Architecture Student Society (SUTDIO) at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), this hands-on workshop will introduce participants to two contrasting architectural styles—art moderne and brutalist—that played a major influence on historical buildings. Participants will be using plywood and wood glue to assemble models of iconic landmarks such as the Golden Mile Complex and Tiong Bahru Market; you'll also get to learn more about the history of these buildings via a talk by SUTD Professor Yeo Kang Shua.

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4. Heritage tours

Take a break from working from home and get a breath of fresh air by exploring the many heritage landmarks in Singapore. Archifest is hosting a range of guided tours around neighbourhoods such as Tanglin Halt, Redhill, Geylang, and more, where you’ll be able to explore the rich multicultural landscapes and have the chance to hear first-hand accounts down memory lane from some of the long-time residents of the neighbourhoods.

Do note that tours in locations such as Tiong Bahru and River Valley are currently sold out, so it’s best to snap up tickets for the other neighbourhoods as soon as possible.

5. A Day in The Life of Le Corbusier exhibition

Swiss-French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the most pioneering architects of the 20th century. Explore his legacy and different facets of his career through this immersive exhibition that slowly unveils a day of the architect’s life. Held at the gallery of the Alliance Française de Singapour, the exhibition is co-curated by homegrown architectural firm RT+Q Architects, alongside SUTD and G8A Architecture & Urban Planning. Exclusive architectural models of Le Corbusier’s work from the private collection of RT+Q Architects will also be showcased in this special exhibition.

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6. Ikebana: Creating floral form & space

Ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of floral arrangement, uses meaningfully selected botanical pieces to convey a specific feeling or emotion. With a pared-back aesthetic, the floral art form is a reflective process that encourages one to observe and meditate on the beauty of nature in order to gain inner peace from the final composition.

Held at lifestyle and social space Crane, conservation consultant and ikebana instructor Mabel Lee Chow will lead the flower arranging workshop. Participants will get the opportunity to try their hands at the ikebana process, whilst exploring how the ancient Japanese art form can help enhance design spaces in architecture.

7. Archicraft 2021: Introduction to hydroponics workshop

Always wanted to try your hand at hydroponic farming? You can now learn the fundamentals of growing plants using only water and nutrients at this workshop held by ASD Sutdio in collaboration with indoor hydroponics farm Urban Green Dot. Besides the introduction to hydroponics as a growing method, each participant will also receive their very own hydroponics set to practice what they’ve learned through the workshop.

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