NUS M.Arch Graduation Show
The NUS M.Arch Show 2020 digital exhibition was launched with a virtual opening ceremony on the 29th May 2020 . The exhibition features visuals of 5 years of Architectural education and the pinnacle of their journeys— 112 thesis works from the graduating batch. This year’s theme, Vision, approaches the graduation show both literally and figuratively; as a stepping stone for networking, simultaneously as a representation of the youngest minds dispersing into the working world amidst unprecedented circumstances. Curated and jointly organised by our graduating students, theses are exhibited in an unprecedented form as a collection of visions – that of the collective and the individual, addressing the perennial conflict between habitation and natural ecology in the light of climate change, scarcity and now, pandemia.
"This two-part series serves as the fruit of the Class of 2020's labour - the graduation site and book serve as virtual and physical memorabilia; the pinnacle of our architectural education."
NUS M.Arch Grad Show
Visual Digital Exhibition
Guest of Honour: Mr Seah Chee Huang
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Yap Chee Keng
Toby Fong, Howard Lee, Yang Fan,
Sharne Sulaiman, Marcus Liu, Claudia Cheng, Hogen Salim, Timothy Ou,
William Tin, Yip Jing Wei
Postcript to NUS M.Arch Show 2020
Drastically different from previous versions of graduation shows due to the COVID-19 climate, it appeared pretty apt that the Class of 2020, who has always been exposed to change — from the restructured 13-project Year 1 syllabus, moving out of our treasured SDE building, to having our final year theses outside of the studio and subsequently virtually — showcases its works in this adapted format. Vision 2020 serves as a reminder to the graduating class, as individual saplings part of a larger network, to always uphold the values of tenacity, diligence and resilience despite the circumstance, despite the roads we traverse ahead.
To execute and materialise this show was a daunting, tedious process. Standing on the shoulders of previous grad show committees and seniors, we had a rich network and references to work with. Yet when the outbreak hit mid-thesis year, we found ourselves flung into the unknown. The uncertainty of whether a final critique, much less a physical grad show was still possible; the plausibility of the conversion of a traditionally physical, tactile exhibition to something completely digital and foreign; the disappointment and stress of prior preparations all for naught, adapting to a new working environment and discussion setting – massive coordination and trial and error were involved both within the committee and with our batch mates, department and stakeholders.
Conceptually the exhibition aimed to create a new experience of its visitor, fulfilling the potential of the virtual boundless platform. We treaded the fine line between clarity of the main index of 100+ student works, and the need to maintain each project’s richness in narrative and methodology. As such, greater liberty and personalisation opportunities were offered to every student, making each of their pages more customisable – showcasing our main concept of the website being an endless multiverse, with each project being its own world. As the thesis final critiques were also relegated to Zoom presentations, we made it a point to display the adapted variety of works, be it GIFs, video essays, animations – all while retaining the relatively traditional drawings and model photos concurrently. Works are relatively more concise and targeted, yet interactive and refreshing. Instead of physical event-day opening ceremonies at Suntec City’s Atrium, we hosted an online talk-show-cum-countdown to the live website. Selected students were invited to present their works on the night itself instead of Open Studios, and many recorded Zoom critiques were included on the student pages as well. In retrospect, the revised format worked to our advantage – a turnout rate topping the 3 iterations of the Grad Show, as well as playback opportunities for a wider audience, regardless of time and place. The Zoom party allowed us to gather together, albeit virtually, one last time as a cohort to celebrate, sharing our individual projects with one another – something that we had missed out on after our final critique earlier.
The focus of this year's edition does not lie solely in celebrating our exemplary thesis works, but also showcasing the myriad of memories and friendships forged inside and outside of studio, the lessons learnt on architecture and beyond. The show is a culmination of such bonds and would not be possible without the help of many people. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the NUS Department of Architecture, Dr Ho Puay Peng and Dr Joseph Lim for their help and support along the way, as well as to the group of dedicated, motivated individuals that is the grad show organising committee, for their effort and contribution amidst the tumultuous thesis period and for making all this possible.
My last note for all M.Arch students and organising committees in the future – circumstance does not dictate or limit you. Keep sane and accountable by staying in contact with your batchmates constantly, even if physical interactions are limited. Make the best out of the situation. I do not and cannot have a universal answer to how exactly to adapt to specific changes in studio or curriculum, but if there’s anything to take away from the Class of 2020 – stay driven, stay focussed, stay bonded.
Tan Xin Yuan,
on Behalf of the NUS M.Arch Show 2020 Organising Committee