Interview with Seah Chee Kien

4 Aug 2014

The May/June 2013 issue of the Destination Singapore magazine, a luxury visitors guide to the city, interviewed RSP Design Director Seah Chee Kien on his views about Singapore’s changing urban landscape and the role of architecture. 

Noting how growth has transformed Singapore, the article notes Chee Kien’s observations about various landscape shifts. “Step out of the city centre and you begin to see the new Singapore take shape.” To the west are some of the most daring designs; futuristic research centres, Fusionpolis and Biopolis. He also added that buildings today increasingly need to be multipurpose. “We don’t just build a mall; it’s a condo on top, a convention centre or an office block, too. We are forced to be creative with limited space”. 

In the face of rapid urbanisation, the challenge is how cities can retain their identities. In the article, Chee Kien feels more evolution is needed. We need “to go deeper than fashion and replicating other countries. We need to find our own level of confidence. Singapore is finding it but I don’t think it is found yet,” he says. 

Ultimately, to him, architecture is about the people and how they are using buildings and spaces. He believes architecture should “serve society”. He cites the LASALLE College of the Arts by RSP as one of his favourites, as an example of how architecture fosters connections. The design, with six entrances from four different streets, encourages greater interactions with maximum accessibility for both students and the public.

Photo © LASALLE College of the Arts