Neo Keng Heng
A Tale of Two Cities: Kairos, Chronos, and the space between

Thesis Supervisor: Khoo Peng Beng

‘A Tale of Two Cities’ explores a long lost dimension of the temporal experience: Kairos. We surrender ourselves to the steady march of time in lieu of progress, yet speak of time as an entity that is not as unyielding as it seems. We make time, keep time, and waste time; and can simultaneously be in time, and out-of-time. Time is suggested to be a fluid entity, one that both shapes, and is shaped by the human experience.


The thesis suggests that the key to sculpting the temporal experience is through the sculpting of the spatial, an exploration on the entanglement of space and time. In a city that is pressed for time, it is perhaps the responsibility of the architect to design spacious moments of relief.

The Thesis proposes a manifestation of the two dimensions of time as two cities that intertwine: The City of Chronos and The City of Kairos. Set amidst the heart of the Central Business Park: Raffles Place, a new public space typology designed with the temporal experience in mind combines the chaotic nature of the restless financial centre and train station, and the expanded time-space of a temple in a park. Two cities:  Chronos and Kairos; one of sensorial desensitisation, incessant progress, and the ticking of time; the other of sensorial distillation, spacious moments, and the in-between.

A Tale of Two Cities

The duality of time and space expressed as two cities: Chronos, the city of incessant progress and sensorial desensitisation; and Kairos, the city of stillness and sensorial distilation.

The City of Chronos

The manifestation of the madness, chaos, and schizophrenia of the capitalistic city. Temporary stalls and activities tethered to a central core that facilitates waste and electrical management. Mist and hologram projectors also provide climatic effects while providing even more real estate for incessant advertising and product placement. A rat race disguised as an illusion of change and progress.


The Chronos Nucleus facilitates activities by providing power and waste management. Vendors are able to rent spaces within the boundaries or the entire nuclei for their activities. The nucleus also generates mist and projects hologram for atmospheric control and to maximise advertisement air space.

The City of Kairos

The manifestation of the stillness, wonder, and respite that the city desires. Shrines that provide refuge for the fatigued and overwhelmed allow the user to witness the sublime spectacle of nature’s temporal dimension. 

A slice of silence

The shrines form a series of quiet spaces to seek shelter from the chaos of the city.

A new space and time

The geometry of Chronos seems to be lively and varying. It is a provider of services and an enabler of life. But it is also a prison that binds you within a boundary. A vehicle of change that goes nowhere and serve only itself and to overwhelm. On the other hand, the geometry of Kairos is seemingly still and stoic, but within it lies the opportunities of escape, and of infinite enriching experiences and for a connection to within and the beyond. With the geometry of kairos, we get to peek into the eternal for a moment, into the space and time in-between.