Yap Chee Keng
Cloud Landing: Emergence of Post-Westphalian Era
Thesis Tutor: A/R Peter Sim
With the inevitable commodification of data and the increasing value of our information, we are heading towards a future where data will be our future currency. While the possibility of such a future seems unlikely, it Is nearer than we expected it to be.
As such, it leads us to a possible future of a Post-Westphalian era, where holders of our data are poised to gain an exponential amount of political power. With sovereignty is being redefined and with the balance of power at its tipping point, the thesis speculates a near future where the eventual growth of Multi-National Tech Corporates will turn them into a semi-autonomous entity that’s unlike any other.
They will then start to form their own networks across the globe and forming their territories. As such, creating a new construct where country and defined boundaries coexists with new entities which hold sovereignty.
A key point that this project aims to drive home is to express how physicality is still extremely important in a society that is increasingly dependent on the virtual, and an important aspect for legitimacy, be it for countries or corporations looking to establish their own sovereign entity. Bringing this idea into a concrete space, Enso’s project will provide a space for individuals to freely express themselves beyond conventional limits and the importance of singularity.
Rise of Enso
Enso is a multi-national tech corporate that aims to be the pinnacle of data-freedom and provides protect for its members, as opposed to how much of the information is being collected in Singapore without our consent.
The construct of Enso is much like a religion, where it appeals to people that are a believer of a certain lifestyle. In this case, to take control of their individuality and be free from the state’s close grip. With more and more people subscribing to the Enso’s lifestyle and associated themselves more of a member than citizen, it will give Enso the power and growth that cannot be contained by the state. Thus, creating the tension between the two bodies that provides the opportunity for an architectural intervention that shows the nuance power struggle.
To achieve data-freedom for its members, the proposed architecture of Enso will serves fortress of data, where it aims to become the archive of identities and memories, where they are stored here in physical, semi-physical, and virtual bits in the heart of a bustling district. Members of the corporate will be able to take full control of their data here, be it to purchase, consolidate or destroy them.
In this case, data refers to the information that exist in the form of tangible and intangible information. The more common data that we are familiar with is the intangible data, where it is in the cloud and often out of physical reach.
For the tangible information, it refers to important physical information that are more unique and requires a delicatre form of safekeeping, for example, a strand of hair, a piece of clothing to even eggs and sperms.
Anarchy in the heart of Singapore
The proposed site for the project will be along Orchard Road. While the site is iconic to Singapore, the death of retail makes its an ideal home for Enso to propagate its presence. The rise of suburban Malls and e-commerce are causing rental prices are going down and vacancy rate is at an all-time-high every year. Aside from the economical reason, situating the site here helps to make a statement of how the tides have turned and the arrival of such anarchy that’s here to stay.
Along Orchard road, the chosen plot for this intervention will be Lucky Plaza. With the mall predominantly being frequented by the Philippinos, it is mainly under-utilised on the weekdays, with the crowd only coming in on Sundays. As such, its vacancy rates is one of the highest among malls along orchard road. It is also a continuity of the space that houses a new community, with the new building echoing what it used to be.
The intervention will happen from store to store then level by level and finally have its own building. When it starts to gain more real estate of the building, it will begin to expands the programmes that are presented to the members. The eventual growth will be organic and begins the spread to the adjacent building where the process repeats itself.
Despite being a public and open entity, the architecture of Enso should still act as a stronghold, with its door open to only its member exclusively.
The experience will begin from the market. While the market is very different from the main building in terms of their architecture language. the philosophy of Enso is reflected through its nature of the space. The market shows a democratisation of space, where it provides the freedom for the people to exercise rights that are absence in Singapore. Like the growth of the market that are often free and uncontrolled, it is the same for the vision of Enso .for its member.
Next, the market also serves as a soft boundaries between Enso and Singapore-governed land. While it is under the jurisdiction of Enso, it will be open to the general public. The drastic change between the spatial experience helps to create a threshold for the occupants. To enter the Enso building, one have to manoeuvre its way through the market as the only point of entry will be within the market.
Upon entering the building, the nature of the space changes dramatically and it opens up a world that cannot be imagined from its mere facade.
Instead of having a tower building to house the sheer amount of storage spaces within, the architecture will be have half of its volume into the ground. By doing so, we are able to conceal the true volume of the facility. Serving two main programmes within the building, space above the ground will be used for the infobank, where its used by those that live with desire and the one below will be for the cryobank, where it is for the one that desire to live.
While the two main spaces are separated by a significant distance, a main void will be connecting these spaces, which contributes to the monumentality of the space.
Greeted by the clean interior that is vastly different from the market