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Above: Photographer Darren Soh will talk about how to capture the finer details of our built environment such as the Wah Son @ Seletar Aerospace Park.

Above: Photo by Alvin Seng will be part of the exhibition Architecture & Photography Of The Pioneer Generation.

Architecture, food tell a lot about culture and society

Archifest 2017 includes edible diorama, bake-off, photography workshop and the highly popular Architours.
Sep 29, 2017 5:50 AM

IT may not be evident at first glance, but architecture and food are intertwined more than we might think.

Wee H Koon, founder of Skew Collaborative and co-festival director of Archifest 2017, says food brings people together like nothing else.

"Eating is the most routine event each day, and in some cultures, sharing food is a sign of hospitality," he says.

He believes that a person's interaction with architecture and food is similar, such as how the pleasant reaction from experiencing a piece of architecture can be akin to enjoying a good meal.

"Both food or cooking, and architecture can be seen as artistic and technical practices. There are also plenty of formal and metaphorical closeness between food and architecture, and between the work of a chef and an architect.

Archifest is an annual architecture festival that celebrates Singapore's built environment.

The organisers of this year's Archifest hope to reach out to a bigger crowd through food, with two food-related events among its other highlights.

On Oct 6, there is Archi-Feast: The Architecture Of Food, taking place at The Projector.

Archi-Feast lets architects and related professionals socialise, exchange ideas, and network over food and drinks. It also has a larger ambition to question architecture's relationship to food and the public.

There will be an edible diorama, a 9m centrepiece in the form of a city, with food placed on top as "buildings".

Several architects will contribute food to the feast, exercising their creative and culinary skills. As more of the food gets consumed, the underlying city gets increasingly revealed, bringing a temporal and performance aspect to the centrepiece.

Another food-related event is The Great Architectural Bake-Off, on Oct 14, at The Working Capitol. Architects and designers will put their creativity and skills into building some of the world's most iconic buildings made out of cake.

Darren Zhou, co-curator of Archi-Feast and design principal at Skew Collaborative, said: "Food and architecture are both cultural products. Studying food and architecture can tell you a lot about the culture or society that gave rise to it."

This year's festival also hopes to help the public realise that even though they may not be trained architects, they too can participate in the making and altering of the built environment.

Eunice Seng, co-festival director of Archifest and founding principal of Skew Collaborative said that "the average person doesn't feel particularly empowered in an environment in Singapore, but we think we can gradually improve on this".

Participants can go on the highly popular Architours, where architects will take visitors on tours of their projects, which are usually not open to the public.

Another not-to-miss event is the photo exhibition, Architecture & Photography Of The Pioneer Generation, from Oct 4 to 15, at Deck. The curatorial team put out an open call to invite seniors citizens to submit their photos of Singapore.

While many of us walk past buildings without much thought, award-winning photographer Darren Soh will teach participants in a workshop on how best to capture the finer details of these structures, such as the matching geometry, aligned lines and juxtaposed composition.

Those who want to try their hand at sketching Singapore, should sign up for the City Sketching workshop on Oct 14 at Rochor Centre.

Filipino architect Pocholo Issa Estremos will teach participants simple sketching techniques and how to apply colour to the drawings to breathe life into them.

  • Archifest2017 is on from Oct 4 to 15 at various locations. For registration of events, go to