The COVID-19 pandemic threw the world into a state of panic and uncertainty, with countries closing borders, affecting the logistics and transportation industry proving just how vulnerable global supply chains can be. Not only did the virus originate from the food system, but it also penetrated it and exposed its weaknesses. The disruptions caused by the pandemic calls for a new architectural paradigm for a reform in the food supply chain.
Faced with land scarcity, Singapore has a huge dependency on imports for its food supply, which makes the country vulnerable to external factors like global lockdowns. Rising concerns regarding the methods of distribution to meet the needs of consumers have led to alarming amounts of food waste, as fluctuations in inventories respond to shifts in consumer demand. The fragmented food supply chain has resulted in the disconnection between consumers and the source of food and how they reach the shelves of supermarkets.
Changing consumer habits
Focusing on the postproduction stage, this thesis aims to explore how changing consumer behavior can increase food resilience by using architectural interventions to create environments that stimulate sustainable habits. Environmental nudges such as, end to end visibility, redistribution of surplus food, and slow food activities foster social integration through the exchange of knowledge, facilitating conversations and encourage community participation. By having a kit of parts, these interventions are scalable to the population size of the districts. The architecture hopes to shorten the gap between consumers and the source of food in the supply chain, to inspire the community through food appreciation and reducing wastage in the long term, solving the food security conundrum with one meal at a time.
This thesis eschewed the notion of deep plan factories with large production lines and supermalls depending on high occupancy traffic which is unsuitable for pandemic safety practices. Instead, high value-add prototyping incubators and micro-factories are proposed as new production spaces integrated with vertical retail streets on external balcony walkways open to ventilation and light. The outcomes are twofold: first, the retail displays are part of an accessible facade doubling up as promotional areas at enlarged rampway/escalator landings; second, the product displays are co-located with their prototyping and production facilities accommodating educational activities and public participation in creative production that is not confined to the realm of expert designers. Such a housing block integrated model with a ( home studio-workshop-lab-factory-digitally assisted retail shop) allows IP creation alongside FDI in local enterprise without the large scale JTC infrastructure susceptible to undercapacity operations in pandemic futures.- Adj. Asst. Prof. Tiah Nan Chyuan