Pulau Ubin Lives

Pulau Ubin is an offshore island that sits northeast of mainland Singapore with a number of raised-floor wooden Malay houses. The settlements on Pulau Ubin are called kampung, a term which comes from the Malay verb berkampung (coming together).

Houses on Pulau Ubin have functioned as gathering spaces and actively facilitate dialogue across diverse sections of society. The proposed restoration of four wooden Malay houses on Pulau Ubin presents a new frontier for architectural and landscape conservation in Singapore, and this installation introduces the case study houses as objects of interest and sites of knowledge exchange, engagement and interaction.

The exhibit includes a historical timeline of Pulau Ubin and a summary of recent developments. It discusses kampung houses in relation to vernacular architecture, construction know-how and building codes. Significantly, it dwells on the relationship Pulau Ubin shares with mainland Singapore and its position within Singapore’s nation-building narrative. These materials are further enriched by interviews conducted with the island’s residents.

This project was made possible with the help of Pulau Ubin’s residents, including: Pak Ahamad bin Kassim and his late wife, Cik Sapiah bte Taib, Cik Kamariah bte Abdullah and family, Cikgu Ahmad Kassah and family, and Azman bin Hamid.

Studio DO: Pulau was set up by Dr Imran bin Tajudeen with two of his former students, Mohammad Iqbal bin Roslan and Lee Kah Hui. It extends the research initiated under the General Programme (Heritage Focus) of the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore. Studio DO: PULAU documents the findings on the four wooden kampung houses and position Pulau Ubin as a living cultural landscape encompassing not only flora and fauna, but also community, architecture, settlements, and socio-cultural histories.

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