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BDP wins competition to rejuvenate Singapore’s Geylang Serai Market

BDP has won an important cultural project in Singapore to redesign the popular Geylang Serai market into a modern, vibrant place for local people and visitors.

The design competition was sponsored by The People’s Association and organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects. Our winning concept design, which included a multidisciplinary approach, was chosen as the winner from a shortlist of competition entries.

Following our appointment to the project, the popular market area will be rejuvenated so that visitors can make use of new cycling lanes, sheltered areas and green spaces. A festive plaza in front of Joo Chiat Complex and a landmark structure on Changi Road that symbolises the transition of the area from a former Malay settlement to a vibrant community precinct connects the past and the present of the market and ensures there will be flexible space for meetings, events and entertainment.

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These new developments aim to strengthen the cultural heritage of the area and make it a more exciting and meaningful place for all visitors. The site is enriched with Malay culture and heritage and has progressively evolved into a modern community neighbourhood through urban transformation. By designing in spaces that connect the modern neighbourhood with the heritage of the area, we aim to create a new market where multiple cultures and generations can thrive, feel a real sense of arrival, and utilise smart technology to make their way around a beautiful, well organised and successful shopping district.

Our inclusive design partner, Human Space, provided peer review of the design concepts from the perspective of inclusion and accessibility. This included considerations to resolve grade changes to enhance accessible paths of travel, design of comfortable and dynamic outdoor furniture systems, the incorporation of innovative smart wayfinding systems such as positioning technology, and in-ground pavement lighting sensors to enhance safety and pedestrian flow.

Architect director, Andrew Loke, explains: "Geylang Serai is an important cultural hub. We wanted to design a place where people can come together, that appeals to both Malays and non-Malays, at the same time making sure that the space is activated by community activities throughout the day.”

Second Minister for Education and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, said: "Our multicultural fabric is priceless and we must make every effort to preserve it - creating spaces for each cultural community to showcase its rich heritage for others to appreciate and celebrate.

"Developing the Geylang Serai Cultural Precinct is more than just physical upgrading and architectural streetscape. Physical spaces must be activated through dynamic cultural programmes that celebrate the rich heritage of the place and continue to breathe life to Malay culture."

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Singapore’s National Development Minister Desmond Lee, added: "Places like Geylang Serai are not just spaces where certain ethnic communities thrive and flourish, but are also spaces where different races can interact, and learn to appreciate each other's cultures”.

“This is the outcome of integrated, long-term planning, where inclusive neighbourhoods and communities are built, where the diverse heritage of Singapore is valued, and where everyone is welcome."

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