‘Subterranean Singapore 2065’ is an architectural film project that offers a speculative proposal for large scale underground living in land scarce Singapore. The project was created as part of my Masters in Architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, in London.
Synopsis: Driven by an entrepreneurial and effective state focused on national survival, the underground city is a feat of the technological sublime. It is organised around a master section, supported by modular super frame structures, vast inflatables, and artificial weather systems that create an optimally habitable and attractive subterranean environment. However, through the unexpected interruptions of the state’s narrative by a shadowy subversive, the project also surfaces the hidden underside of the architectural showpiece, which is invariably built on the backs of cheap foreign labour. The climactic National Day Parade for Singapore’s 2065 Centennial of Independence is a mass celebration of technological achievement, featuring a choreographed march of robotic construction technology. Although the machines that built the city are foregrounded, their human counterparts remain literally submerged and invisible to the collective consciousness – with tragic, explosive consequences. Thus, the film is both an exploration of the principles and potential of underground dwelling as a solution for urban living, and a cautionary tale against unsustainable and exclusionary socio-political infrastructures, which ignore the human cost underpinning the making of architectural mega projects.
Using an extrapolation of the existing planning framework, land is zoned around subterranean promenades into vertical rift valleys that maximize liveability. In addition to this enterprize zones such as the Subterranean Freeport, which contain luxury residences, occupy much deeper and more secretive cave networks.
A culturally interior nation, due to extreme climatic tendencies, Singapore has been known as an ‘air con nation’ hence making the idea of a naturally cool underground environment highly attractive.
The 7 minute film was single-handedly crafted by myself, with digital modelling executed in Rhino & 3ds Max, and rendering using the V-Ray engine. This footage was then taken into After Effects for post-production and colour grading.
The project is underpinned by the author’s personal fascination with exploring and exploiting underground space in an urban and natural context. The film includes personal footage of his explorations into the deepest cave systems in the UK, abseiling and exploring their maze like caverns and stream ways.