‘No More Free Space?’ Asks the Returning Singapore Pavilion

May 17, 2019

A Celebration of Singaporean Creativity Turning Constraints into Possibilities Opens to the Public from 17 May to 30 June


Singapore, 17 May 2019 - Is there truly no more free space in Singapore? That is the question the Singapore Pavilion from the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia asks. A response to the overarching theme of Freespace, set by the Biennale curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara.


Entitled, ‘No More Free Space?’ the exhibit tells the story of how, in spite of the limitations in physical space, Singapore-based architects, urban planners, and place-makers have creatively found ways to bring delightful free spaces to the city's everyday life.  


During its 6-month long run at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, the Singapore Pavilion received over 70,000 visitors. Returning from the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale in Venice, the restaged exhibition will run from 17 May till 30 June 2019 at the National Design Centre.


Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s compact urban environment, ‘No More Free Space?’ features 12 Singapore-based projects that showcase the resourcefulness of the architects, their inspirations and realization of ideas. All whilst borrowing natural resources such as light, air, greenery, and water.


Each of the 12 projects featured shows imagination, openness, discovery, and resolution to turn constraints into possibilities. Taking it one step further, the projects also reflect how architecture can tap into social capital to bring joy and connect individuals to the larger community.


The centrepiece of the Singapore Pavilion features an immersive installation, an ethereal cloud made of skilfully handcrafted acrylic knots gently suspended in mid-air that envelopes visitors to the pavilion. Complete with a multi-sensory projection of lights, sounds, images, and even scents, visitors find themselves immersed in the spaces within the cloud - in itself an example of a resourceful, unexpected free space.


In conjunction with the restaging of the exhibition, a design forum will be held featuring architects and designers from the curated projects, who will discuss their inspirations behind the projects they worked on.


Additionally, the public are also invited to participate in a clay hand-building workshop, where local studio Usually Usual will showcase the process behind preparing 100 handcrafted Jurong ceramic tubes for the biennale.


Prof Erwin Viray, Lead Curator and Head of the Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar at SUTD says, “The exhibit stands as a testament to how the creative freedom of the mind has the power to turn constraints into a myriad of alternative possibilities”


He adds, “Singapore is such a unique country, a multi-ethnic, multicultural, island city-state with a burgeoning population on a land area of just 720 km2. Its dense urban fabric has to support a multitude of uses and needs within demanding constraints. We hope that the exhibit will elicit a greater appreciation of the urban environment that we work and play in every day, and perhaps even spur the imagination of what is possible in spite of the limitations.”  


Commissioned by the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg), and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), and curated by the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in collaboration with the National University of Singapore’s department of Architecture (NUS), ‘No More Free Space?’ was the country’s sixth showcase at the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia since 2004.


“Architecture can have a significant impact on the quality of life in any community as it can communicate memory, values and even a sense of place. The current built environment in Singapore is unique and reflective of our rich history and culture, combined with a modern sensitivity and modern dynamism. Through the showcase in Venice and now back home, we continue to celebrate the beautiful, quality buildings and public spaces that our architects have designed to enhance the city-scape,” said Larry Ng, Co-Commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion, Urban Redevelopment Authority.


“The Singapore Pavilion in Venice is a powerful platform to tell the Singapore story of how we, as a people, have not allowed constraints to limit our imagination. Instead, we’ve had the mental ‘free space’ to re-imagine what our compact city could be and used design deliberately to create better and more loveable places for everyone. We hope its homecoming will inspire the next generation of designers to use the power of design just as impactfully,” said Mark Wee, Executive Director, DesignSingapore Council.


For more information on the restaging of the Singapore Pavilion, please visit:



About the DesignSingapore Council

DesignSingapore Council’s (Dsg) vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. As the national agency that promotes design, our mission is to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design. The Dsg is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board.


About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is Singapore's land use planning and conservation agency. Our mission is ‘to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play’. We strive to create an endearing home and a vibrant and sustainable city through long-term planning and innovation, in partnership with the community.


URA’s multi-faceted role includes being the main government land sales agent. We attract and channel private capital investments to develop sites that support planning, economic and social objectives. We also partner the community to enliven our public spaces to create a car-lite, people-friendly and liveable city for all to enjoy. In shaping a distinctive city, URA also promotes architecture and urban design excellence. Visit for more information.


About the Singapore University of Technology and Design

The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is Singapore’s fourth public university, and one of the first universities in the world to incorporate the art and science of design and technology into a multi-disciplinary curriculum. SUTD was established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and seeks to advance knowledge and nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs.


Also in collaboration with Zhejiang University and Singapore Management University, SUTD, a research-intensive university, is distinguished by its unique East and West academic programmes which incorporate elements of entrepreneurship, management and design thinking. Graduate opportunities include the Master of Architecture, the Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning, and various SUTD PhD programmes.


About National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Department of Architecture, NUS School of Design and Environment


A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. NUS has 17 faculties and schools across three campuses. Over 38,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives. NUS also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.


The Department of Architecture, which is part of the NUS School of Design and Environment, was established in 1958. Today, NUS Architecture offers a wide range of programmes, including landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning and integrated sustainable design. Building on the strength of its rich heritage and visionary leadership, NUS Architecture is poised to remain at the forefront of global excellence in architectural education and research, with a focus on high density Asian cities in the tropics. For more information on NUS and NUS Architecture, please visit and

For more information on the Singapore Pavilion, please visit website:


Media Contacts

Naveen K.

On behalf of SUTD

D +65 9637 4747




Commissioned by

DesignSingapore Council and Urban Redevelopment Authority


Mark Wee, Executive Director (Designate), DesignSingapore Council

Larry Ng Lye Hock, Prize Secretary (Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize), Urban Redevelopment Authority and Registrar, Board of Architects, Singapore

Lead Curator

Prof Erwin Viray, Head of Pillar, Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Curatorial Collaborator

Prof Ho Puay-Peng, Head, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore


Dr Chong Keng Hua, Assistant Professor, Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Tomohisa Miyauchi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore

Wu Yen Yen, Director, Genome Architects Council Member of Singapore Institute of Architects, Adjunct Design Tutor, Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore

Dr Jason Lim, Director, TakahashiLim A+D, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design


Commissioned by:

DesignSingapore Council and Urban Redevelopment Authority


Organised by:

Singapore University of Technology and Design


in collaboration with:

National University of Singapore



National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road, Singapore 188969

To Visit:



Open for Public Viewing


17 May 2019 to 30 June 2019

Opening Hours:

9 am – 9 pm daily







Lucky Shophouse



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Written on : 17 May 2019

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