Aiste Stancikaite is a photographer travelling in Asia at the moment. For Art Pit, she features the most interesting moments of her journey and writes some feedback about her impressions of Asia. In this post, she discusses skyscrapers’ architecture in Singapore.
When I got held up at the customs of Singapore and missed my bus, I was ‘saved’ by a Singaporean guy who helped me to get to the city. On the way, when I was soaking in Singapore through the bus window, my new friend saw my wide open eyes jumping from one skyscraper to another and asked if the country, which I was from, is flat. First, I thought he was talking about hills and mountains, but then I realized he was actually asking about the height of the buildings — that’s what forms Singapore’s landscape.
The thought that thousands of people live in monster-like skyscrapers and every apartment in the building is the same, is not, of course, very appealing at first, however, the life is quite comfortable there. Every block has its own car park, small courtyard and children playground which is actually covered in soft rubber so kids would not get hurt. And it’s all precisely clean, from the 40th floor staircase to the courtyard, but that’s how all Singapore is like.
Housing market in Singapore is controlled by two parties. Council owns a big share of condominiums (that’s how they call apartments) in the city and they are usually much cheaper to rent. However, foreigners, single or gay people might find it difficult to get one of those flats as council usually favours married couples and small families. The council also controls the racial percentage in one building but, as ridiculous as it may sound, it actually prevents the formation of ghettos. Private housing is a second option. It’s more expensive but apartments are usually in a better condition and much easier to get, that’s why they are popular amongst expats or rich Singaporeans.
Singapore is a tiny country having five millions of people and, because of the limited space, there is only one way to fit everyone in and it is building up instead of out. Massive blocks of flats or office buildings create a very specific and a bit surreal atmosphere and add a lot of character to the city. It’s not a universal kind of beauty (like old towns of Europe) but it’s interesting. Sometimes you need to lift your head very high to see the sky but if you are on the 40th floor (or higher) you can see it all. After all, Singapore is not just concrete or glass buildings, it also has a lot of parks and incredibly lots of trees on the streets, so sometimes it feels as you’re walking in a tropical jungle with skyscrapers carefully combined on it. The harmony between nature and the city is preserved thanks to Singaporean people who live peacefully with each other and take care of their environment.