Lye Siang Ler
Sembawang Shipyard

Thesis Tutor: ​Ho Weng Hin

Site: Sembawang Shipyard

By 2024, Sembcorp Marine is anticipated to relocate all its Singapore shipyards to its new integrated mega-yard in Tuas. According to the URA masterplan, the Sembawang Shipyard facility has the potential to be redeveloped into a waterfront residential property due to its location and size.


Throughout its history, industrial activities have transformed the biologically diverse wetland and coastal habitat into a bustling townscape. Generations of locals have built and settled in the current Sembawang New Town through their laborious efforts from the shipyard. As new plans arise to redevelop the Shipyard after relocation, many look to the rich history of the site as a

great Naval Base for the basis of the redevelopment.


This then raises and important contextual conundrum in the pursuit of sustainability and place-making. Which is more important and valuable – the site’s military prowess during Singapore’s colonial period or the site’s rich industrial and social history after the British Withdrawal? This thesis seeks to use Sembawang Shipyard, the former naval base, as a vehicle to critically review the state narratives surrounding the redevelopment of industrial sites, and uncover the often overlooked historical development of a working class community under the shadows of a site’s military history.


The naval base was a home to groups such as migrant labourers, whose trajectories ‘‘meet, intersect, overlay, fragment and produce hybrid forms within a certain geographic space.”


The process of ship repair involves a simultaneous yet smooth flow of labour. The layout and individual buildings within the shipyard are accessed for their character defining elements, including their architectural features, functional potential and social significance. The historical context provides the basis for proposed functions.

The future of production and industrial activity.


One of the main aspects of the site is the notion of the workspace as a community space. The masterplan consists 4 zones which address the following: