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Singapore modernism.

SIR: I have read a number of articles (sometimes the same article) in various magazines written by Robert Powell. The most recent being February's one titled 'Tropical Rigour' in the AR where he reviews WOHA Architects' Singapore House.

Here he writes in conclusion: 'For this critic, it is an evolving transcultural language that effortlessly integrates the principles of modernism with traditional responses to a tropical climate.'

Koolhaas in his seminal 1995 essay on Singapore architecture writes of a modernity stripped of ideology when reviewing the public housing stock that covers the majority of the housing needs of the island's population. As the Singapore House reviewed by Powell shows, the architectural aesthetic there has now moved far beyond what Koolhaas was commenting on almost a decade earlier.

Although, particularly after experiencing first hand the construction industries' almost total reliance and treatment of imported unskilled and uneducated labour, I can't help but think that when defining the term modernism in relationship to architecture in Singapore the critic and architects are still missing a proper understanding of the word.

Yours etc


Wellington, New Zealand
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Sargent, Stephen
Publication:The Architectural Review
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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