Conservation is important because places are the foundation of our sense of place and identity. This conversation is complex — it is economic and technical; at its heart, it is also political. For one month, we get to the heart of the matter through an exhibition, a series of co-presentations with Singapore Heritage Society, and a SAD party.

21 AUG–23 SEP
Wednesday–Sunday, 12–8PM
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays & PHs

The Substation Gallery & Theatre
Free Admission


Exhibition by The Substation

Deathsong is an elegy for our landscape. The city is a ceaseless grid of lines, roads, and arteries for the virtuous circulation of labour and goods. Concrete and sand extend the city as horizontal grids with no space for nature, or even the dead.

Four artists present alternative visions for place; they are not only songs for death and despair, but also songs of resistance, songs of hope.  

Featuring Raymond Goh (Asia Paranormal Investigators), Hayati Mokhtar (Malaysia), Post-Museum (Singapore), and Min-Wei Ting (Singapore).


Too Young to Die: Giving New Lease of Life to Singapore’s Modernist Icons

Co-presented with Dr. Chua Ai Lin and Singapore Heritage Society

The Singapore cityscape is at a turning point—the icons of pioneering modern architecture may soon be demolished as a result of en bloc redevelopment. Through a position paper posited as an exhibit,  Dr. Chua Ai Lin and Singapore Heritage Society breakdown the complexity of forces at play, which will determine the fates and future of our modernist buildings.

Pearl Bank Apartments, People's Park Complex, and Golden Mile Complex won international acclaim as non-conformist, innovative, modern solutions for dense urban centres in the the immediate post-independence period of the late 1960s and early 70s. These megastructures, in particular People's Park Complex and Golden Mile Complex, combined spaces for work, home and play and over the years each has developed a distinct character for these functions, with each having its own social dynamics. They are the most outstanding examples of the first large private developments in the city centre from the late 1960s and early 1970s, under the government's Sale of Sites Programme which began the transformation of shophouse landscapes into a modern cityscape.

What do these landmark structures mean to us today? Beyond their distinctive Brutalist aesthetic, what narrative do they tell about social vision and innovation in Singapore's development, about communities, diversity and dynamics of Singapore society today, about change and continuity in a space over the span of fifty years? How can we understand more deeply the lived experience in them, and who inhabits them? Who wants them conserved, who wants redeveloped? How do owners and tenants experience and negotiate the en bloc process? And what would their obliteration at one fell swoop mean?

These questions relate intimately to:

1. How we want to see the past: Are these modern icons to become history—frozen in time as two-dimensional photographs and records of what no longer exists, or are they a living heritage—continuing to live and breathe, adapting to the changes in the times?

2. How we see the future: Precedents are being set—other leasehold, strata-titled malls will follow suit to be sold en bloc, and then be replaced by centrally-managed malls without the same diverse, organic character; while Pearl Bank Apartments has failed in its attempt to be the first strata-titled residential building to attain conservation status, so can a new precedent be set?

21 AUG–23 SEP
Wednesday–Sunday, 12–8PM
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays & PHs

The Substation Random Room
Free Admission

8 SEP, 4.30–6.30PM

The Substation Theatre
Free Admission, RSVP here

Time is Up? A Panel on En Bloc and Singapore’s Modernist Icons

Co-presented with Dr. Chua Ai Lin and Singapore Heritage Society

A take on conservation issues in Singapore from the perspectives of different field specialists.

Assoc Prof. Daniel Goh (Sociologist)
Ho Weng Hin (Conservation Specialist)
Dr. Malone-Lee Lai Choo (Urban Planning Specialist)
Adrian Tan (En Bloc Litigator)

Moderated by Dr. Jack Tsen-Ta Lee (President of Singapore Heritage Society)


A Complex Mission

Co-presented with Dr. Chua Ai Lin and Singapore Heritage Society

Inspired by Codex Golden, a visualised experience of the Golden Mile Complex designed by Shermain Lee, bring a downloadable mission card with you on this self-guided adventure to explore the numerous hidden spaces within the Golden Mile and People's Park Complexes.

The uniquely designed cards prompt visitors to discover these unique and complex spaces using their five senses.

Click here to download the cards.

Note to all explorers:
Please be advised that taking photo and videos inside Golden Mile Complex is strictly not allowed, except with the permission of the building management.  Instead of clutching phones/cameras as we tend to do, use your five senses to deeply experience and observe these spaces.

23 SEP, 11AM–1PM & 2.30–4.30PM

Drama Box
$17/pax, all workshop materials provided
Register here

Revaluing The Pearl: hands-on workshop on Brutalism

Co-presented with Dr. Chua Ai Lin and Singapore Heritage Society

This concrete casting workshop brings you on a hands-on discovery to understand the design logic behind Singapore’s architectural gems known as the Big Four—Pearl Bank Apartments, Golden Mile Tower, and the Golden Mile and People’s Park Complexes. The four buildings embody a particular zeitgeist in 1960s Singapore that was rife with aspirations of new independence, and a buoyant optimism towards defining the country’s future.

The workshop is conducted by Jonathan Poh, Principal Architect and co-founder of Provolk Architects.

Workshops are capped at 18 people per session. Suitable for ages 12 and up. Children need to be accompanied by an adult. Participants will be split into groups of 2.


SAD: Going, Going, Gone...???

Going, Going, Gone…??? is the very first SAD, our new signature programme. Taking place from 6pm to midnight, it's a madhouse of art, ideas, and performances colliding in one space. With two episodes in the month of September, Going, Going, Gone...??? kicks off with a panel discussion before unfolding into a slew of performances.

Proceedings for both episodes also include a reading of Boey Kim Cheng’s 'Change Alley' by Gerald Chew, a nostalgic auction, as well as performances by Marla Bendini and getai duo Baobei Sisters (宝贝姐妹)—all set against the backdrop of a Chinese opera stage.

The evenings will be emceed by the one and only Alan Oei.

1 & 15 SEP, 6PM–12AM

The Substation Theatre & Gallery
$15, or $25 with 2 free drinks