Spark Architects have unveiled a stunning proposal for reconnecting Singapore with its waterfront and street food heritage. The Solar Orchid project is a mobile, reconfigurable and sustainable floating hawker center that could pop up in a variety of locations and formats. Each street food vendor would operate from a self-contained, solar-powered, lightweight floating pod.
Although The Solar Orchid project is currently only a concept proposal, Spark Architects believes the project would complement the government’s recent initiative to develop floating solar islands in Singapore’s reservoirs. The design incorporates a protective, solar power generating canopy and multiple, solar-powered, floating pods, each of which houses a street food vendor. The impetus behind the design was the firm’s observation that Singapore is losing its connection with its waterscape after decades of of urban development, industrialization and land reclamation.
The protective canopy is an energy-generating, inflated ETFE pillow topped with thin-film photovoltaic cells. Each pod accommodates cooking stalls, which would have built-in exhaust, water, gas, electrical, waste collection and water recycling services, as well as table settings. The pods can be clustered together in various formations to create hawker centers that are able to respond to different locations and conditions. They would leave no trace of their presence after removal due to their self-contained nature.
Spark Founding Director Stephen Pimbley states: “The idea of reinventing the hawker centre grew from the widely documented observation that the popularity of the traditional hawker lifestyle has begun to wane. We seek to re-energise the hawker centre typology while retaining the soul of a very Singaporean dining experience.” While for now the design remains only a proposal, the firm is most interested in generating discussion around the reinvigoration of the city’s waterfront. As they note, “History offers many extraordinary examples of visionary projects that remain on paper, serving as vehicles for debate about the future of our cities.”
Images by SPARK Architects