Singapore’s biggest architecture festival is back, as Archifest (AF21) returns this October. Programming over 100 events both physical and digital, the month-long festival organised by organized by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) is set to appeal to both architecture enthusiasts, and the general public. Not only will the lineup include kayaking along the rich mangrove ecosystems of Sembawang’s shorelines to experiencing exciting midnight heritage tours in Geylang, anyone and everyone is invited to join in the festivities.
This year’s theme – Design Evidence, revolves around the way architects relate the complex parameters of our world to the creative process of designing it, creating meaningful and tangible value, and to prove that architecture is everywhere. Through its annual conference, interactive events and exhibitions, the festival aims to educate, engage and excite, bringing festival goers along a thrilling journey of discovery.
“Design Evidence is an invitation to debate, discover and redefine what architecture could be,” says Razvan Ghilic-Micu, Archifest 2021 festival director. “We believe that bringing together a diversity of voices is a step towards a more inclusive dialogue. Archifest is curated by architects for everyone to enjoy – whether you are a designer or not.”
Rather than housing the activities in a single occasion, AF21 is spreading its wings and presented as a decentralised festival across the island, to align with the COVID-19 safe management measures. In addition, with the slew of online activities, digital natives both local and abroad can enjoy events from art exhibitions and film premieres to upbeat forums on hot topics like urban self-sufficiency, alternative paths in architecture and even feng shui.
AF21 will look at the world through 5 key “lenses” such as “Arts and Culture”, “Community and Inclusivity”, “Environment and Sustainability”, “History and Heritage”, as well as “Technology and Methods”. Each lens will be explored through a wide range of events, complementing each other and inspiring new ways of thinking about the city and its Architecture.
“It is great to see Archifest address the very relevant topic of Evidence,” says Assistant Professor Carlos Bañón of Airlab SUTD, who is a returning event partner this year. “Working creatively with real-world inputs is essential to designing a sustainable future. This year we’re bringing a few exciting new prototypes to CDL’s Singapore Sustainability Academy and can’t wait to share them during the exhibition and workshops we have planned for the Archifest audience.”
As with every year, in addition to the festival events, the anchor highlight of Archifest will be its returning Annual Conference. Set to take place virtually over three days between 12th to 14th October, the conference will bring together globally acclaimed voices in the industry. Among the design luminaries speaking, you can expect to hear from Rossana Hu, Founding Partner of Neri & Hu, Shanghai; Brandon Clifford, the Director of the M.Arch Program at MIT, Cambridge MA and TED Fellow; Kunle Adeyemi, Founding Principal of NLÉ, Amsterdam-Lagos; Xavier De Kestelier, Head of Design Technology and Innovation at Hassell in London; and Ong Ker Shing, Principal of Lekker Architects Singapore and Director of the BA Architecture Programme at NUS, among others.
Each day of the conference will approach Design Evidence from a different perspective, aligned with the work and creative ethos of the speakers: On the opening day of 12th October, the conference will explore “Old Worlds, New Futures”, looking at how evidence of knowledge from the past can inform the way we design and build for future cultural and environmental sustainability. The second day will be followed with a dialogue focused on “Ecosystems” thinking in design. From natural systems, to data-driven smart city design and outer space future settlements, interrogating the evidence that enables creative yet pragmatic decision making in design. On the third and closing day, it will bring into focus “Contextual Innovation” panning from East Asia, to South-East Asia and Africa, seeking to uncover the role contextual evidence plays in how forms of hyper-local innovation can inform new global currents in Architecture.
Other highlights of Archifest 2021 include Archifest on Screen at The Projector, where architecture documentaries will be screened physically; SILA Kayak n Klean Archifest Edition, where participants get to kayak around the mangroves while doing a coastal cleanup; a panel discussion of The Last Artisan with esteemed conservation experts and the Singapore History Society; a coffee workshop with Bettr Barista, or check out an exhibition of floating gardens by e AirLab at SUTD.
AF21 strives to align all of its events to the operating ethos of being Sustainable, Diverse, and Multidisciplinary. where everything that informs what is done during the festival will take into account the impact on the environment, keep the conversation inclusive, and connect across different fields of expertise. Join AF21, and realise that architecture is all around us.
Archifest 2021 runs from 1st to 31st October 2021. More information available here