Goh Teck Kuang Clifford
中: An Architecture of Immensity
Thesis Supervisor: A/P Bobby Wong
Site: Middle Road, Singapore
中 is situated against the backdrop of Chinas rising status as a global economic and cultural powerhouse. As part of her international soft power strategies, China is constructing cultural centers all across the world, including the China Cultural Centre in Singapore that was inaugurated in 2015 in Middle Road. In seeming retaliation, Singapore opened her own Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre in 2017, setting the stage for contestation and subsequent emergence of a new, hybridized Chinese culture right in the heart of the civic district.
The thesis speculates the changing role of cultural institutions in todays increasingly flattened, mediatized network society. Through a
study of works by esteemed Chinese artists Cao Fei, Cai Guo-Qiang , Huang Yong Ping, Ai Weiwei and more, the thesis postulates that Chinese art, media and cultural products are defined by the common characteristic of 'immensity'; of large scale productions that span across time and space. Referencing the Koolhasian notion of Bigness, where the scale of the architecture alone embodies an ideological programme, the thesis speculates how cultural spaces like art galleries and performance theatres may change in the near future to accommodate novel cultural formats. It proposes a series of underground and street level spaces along Middle Road as part of the speculated expansion of the China Cultural Centre in Singapore.