Commentaries, complaints and comics by the early students of Singapore's first architecture school
In 1958, the first architecture school in the country opened in the Singapore Polytechnic. Its early students were very outspoken and banded together to form the Singapore Polytechnic Architectural Society (SPAS) within six months of joining the school. Through SPAS, they actively expressed their views on Singapore's architecture and urban development in various ways.
Besides writing essays and drawing up proposals, one of the most unusual means was through drawing cartoons. These were first published in the student section of RUMAH, the journal of the Society of Malayan Architects, and later also printed in DIMENSIONS, the annual journal of SPAS.
The cartoons offered visual commentaries on the state of local architecture, and provide an insight into the debates, issues and even prejudices of the profession in the 1950s and 1960s. They also offered glimpses into the teething challenges of establishing an architecture school in Singapore, including the challenges students had with the personnel and curriculum.
- In Their Own Words: Pioneer Architects of Singapore (2019). Singapore: National University of Singapore.