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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A High-Rise Vernacular in Singapore's Housing Development Board Housing


Vernacular architecture is commonly believed to be a quaint representation ofthe history and traditions ofa culture, built by average people using traditional technologies over a long period oftime but in Singapore there are several indications that the Modernist high rise housing and new towns have become a new vernacular. The factors that support this point of view are: I) the ubiquity of the highrise and new town way oflife; 2) a shared value system and culture within the new towns that is shaped by and reflected in the architecture and planning ofthe new towns; 3) the importance ofrelationships between spaces in the new towns; 4) the ability ofthe architecture andplanning ofnew towns to adapt to changes within Singaporean society; 5) the acceptance, legitimacy, and identification ofthe high-rise way oflife by Singaporeans. A vernacular in Singapore based upon high-rise housing and new towns profoundly impocts the understanding of vernacular architecture, Modernistplanning, and the industrialization offormer Third World countries in response to the globalism.

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