Cantona Ang Boon Kang
Building a Different Life: Reimagining Commonwealth Crescent for Underprivileged Youth

Thesis Supervisor: A/P Dr. Zhang Ye

In Singapore, underprivileged youth begin life with odds stacked against them. They face a compounding mass of daunting disadvantages, which leave many disenchanted, and resulting in the perpetuation of a vicious poverty cycle. while there have been many commendable social initiatives, their living environment which underprivileged youth live in often remains unchanged. 

This thesis investigates how changing the environment for underprivileged

youth can act as a social leveller by providing them with the space and the tools to equip themselves for improving their lives, and increase intergenerational mobility. Through inclusion of fixed architectural design and introduction of programmes and street culture aimed to empower these youth in poverty, this thesis opens new possibilities for design of spaces for such demographic, and encourages discussion on how the built environment can play a rile in the conversation on the fight against youth poverty in Singapore.

Existing Networks
and Nodes

Locating potential routes and opportunities to form a new network across Commonwealth Crescent

Social Relation and
Site Study

Identifying gaps in current discourse in the topic of youth living in Commonwealth Crescent


Amalgamation of existing traditional trades and modern manufacturing technologies to empower youths


Introducing consistent design language across the site which presents autonomy and semi-public spaces for disadvantaged youths

1. Activating the  Neighbourhood

Programmes are injected within the existing neighbourhood to increase social interaction between disadvantaged youths and the existing communities

2. Creating an Interactive Environment

Change in levels within the project allows for constant exposure of activities to trigger learning and interaction between users

3. Engage the disadvantaged

Programmes penetrate into the rental community to their living environment in order to engage the disadvantaged community

4. Blurring of

The need for youths to carve their own spaces is omnipresent. The opportunities for such spaces are located across the project which provides flexibility and security for disadvantaged youths

Overall Site Plan

The new network serve to connect existing schools and housing clusters to the main cluster which act as the main social condensor between different demographics in the area. The network allows for opportunities in their neighbourhood which users are able to activate through the use of co-creation programmes and manufacturing processes.

Sectional Perspectives

The sections illustrate how the network functions as it intercepts different programmes throughout the site. The natural differences in ground level is used to enhanced the concept of staggering levels throughout the entire project. As users traverse across the network, increased activities and complexity would be evident with programmes overlapping one another to form a dynamic environment.