under the gelam tree (feb 2014)
This is a competition entry for PubliCity's "My Ideas for Public Spaces" Competition held in 2014, to transform overlooked and underused public spaces. The site is an open space in Kampong Glam.
Scattered Planks under the Gelam Tree – Absence is a powerful statement, dereliction gives it a presence.
The power in absence is the ability to invoke nostalgia, catalysts exposed makes the missing obvious…there is a reason to be under the Gelam Tree, no matter how nonchalant it maybe.
The 3 Strategies:
1. Breaking Barriers and Making Connections
Walls are removed around GedungKuning to connect the site from PondokJawa all the way northward to the walls of the Malay Heritage Museum. GedungKuning and PondokJawa as important architectural context are now effectively connected to the similarly historical site of Kota Papan along Kandahar Street.
About 70 surface carparks along Aliwah Street and Sultan Gate will be replaced with a new underground carpark that holds more than 100 cars, releasing the on-grade to pedestrian, communal and recreational activities at the `Padang Perayaan’–celebrational field and `PeringkatPapan’– timber plank stage.
2. Soft Intervention of the `PokokGelam’– The Gelam Tree
The Grand old Banyan Trees on site are retained and columns of new Gelam Trees are introduced to create the Gelam Grove. Other than being the namesake for Kampong Glam, the Gelam Grove provides shade for activities to happen on the hardscape floor. The columns of trees provided naturally filtered environment that is permeable and soothingthat is highly relevant in our tropical weather. The Gelam Grove also served to delineate the imprint of Kota Papan, the `missing architecture’ along Kandahar Street.
3. Invoking Kota Papan
According to the site imprint of the original Kota Papan Building, a timber sunken platform - `PeringkatPapan’ is created, down to a certain red color of its plank. The deck surrounds a common lawn that inviteparticipation, the deck allows ventilation and lights to relieve the unavoidable basement quandary. Most importantly Kota Papan– once the social centre of Kampong Glam is reborn in PeringkatPapan, the longed social loci of Kampong Gelam.