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Abstract Islands: In Pursuit of Eden

Chan Joshuel

- Adj. Asst. Prof. Tiah Nan Chyuan


This thesis interrogates the phenomenon of Promise and Forgiveness prescribed in The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt, as a means to mitigate dissonance between humans. The Pursuit of Eden is a search for the middle ground, a space of reconciliation between the state, society, the family, and the individual. Architecture becomes the mediator between these entities in order for a nation to coexist harmoniously.


Through a concurrent remembering and amnesia of stories and experiences, narratives get retold and reinterpreted, memories overlap, blurring into one another. Yet, they yearn with a same desire: to reveal and tell an honest Singapore narrative.

Design Exploration 

Through a study of stadiums, theatres, and parliament typologies, a new design and form is proposed as an appropriate local response to Singapore’s nuances between the public and the state.

Set on the site of the existing Parliament House, this proposal reimagines the Master Plan of the area with its extremely charged adjacencies. With a clear vision of returning the civic space to the public, this is a commitment of the state towards its people.

Future Outcome 

These abstract islands are conceived as a series of distinct and unique spaces within the garden to fosture a culture of discussion and multiple viewpoints. The architecture overlooking the parliament from above affords and celebrates a new plane of accountability and public discourse.

Supervisor's comments:

The thesis explored the similarities between the biological construct and hierarchy that exist in nature with the hierarchy of society in Singapore where the rights of individual, family and State may coexist in an uneven field of power. Several individuals from Singapore’s post-independence history were identified as case studies and the resulting Garden of Eden hypothesised an environment where they and their families come together with the State on a path of shared promises and forgiveness. The intervention that reimagined the new Singapore Parliament to sit within the grounds of the new Peoples’ Garden at the banks of Singapore River is bold and refreshing.

- Adj. Asst. Prof. Tiah Nan Chyuan
Chan Joshuel

It’s way to easy to get caught in the system. Find what makes you TRULY happy, and pursue it with unbridled abandon.