阿嬤飲水攤Ah Ma Drink Stall
共好×設計 Design for the Common Good 台灣建築雜誌2022年6月 Vol.321
阿嬤飲水攤Ah Ma Drink Stall
團隊/Team：陳鳴鵑、張爾培、林靖欣與新加坡國立大學建築設計系/ TAN Beng Kiang, CHUNG Er Pei Ethan, LAM Ching Yan, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore
網絡/環太平洋社區設計網絡/ Pacific Rim Community Design Network；
議題 Issue：文化資產/Cultural Heritage
編輯/Editing：Shannon Turlington；翻譯/Translation：陳盈棻/Ying-Fen Chen
The Ah Ma Drink Stall Project is a design/build reconstruction project on Pulau Ubin, an island off mainland Singapore that is one of the last places in urbanized Singapore with kampong (a Malay word meaning “village”) houses and lifestyle. There, 82-year-old Madam Ong (nicknamed Ah Ma, meaning “Grandma”) sells coconuts at her 25-year-old makeshift drink stall. The stall is a familiar landmark on the island and of sentimental value to Ah Ma and visitors to Pulau Ubin. This project by architecture students from the National University of Singapore is a pilot to revitalize kampong life and a testbed for future restoration of kampong houses. It is significant as the first groundup public structure in Singapore designed and built by volunteers in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. It also paved the way for the subsequent restoration of timber houses on the island.
The drink stall was a makeshift construction that deteriorated into a structurally unsafe structure due to ground settlement as well as occasional river flooding. The reconstructed stall addresses the flood with a raised deck. It invokes the rustic quality of the old stall and keeps traces of the past by recycling original timber planks and restoring signboards. The structure was designed with prefabricated parts to reduce construction time on site as there is no electricity or water supply. The customer-seating area is larger, airier, more sheltered, and more comfortable.
In a participatory design process, models were used to discuss the different design iterations with Ah Ma, her daughter, and the authorities. A villager experienced in vernacular construction taught students how to construct vernacular interlocking timber joints. Ah Ma’s family, local residents, students, and volunteers participated in the construction. This resulted in a greater sense of ownership of the drink stall and a better design. A placemaking approach was used to get stakeholders to collaborate on creating displays for a heritage wall, which showcase the history of the stall and the nature of the surrounding area.
The stall has become a social meeting place, a pit stop where visitors can learn about the heritage of the area and intangible cultural practices. It has brought more customers and allowed Ah Ma to continue living independently on the island. A minister has visited the site and given assurance that the stall will stay even though it is on state land. The successful outcome gave government agencies the confidence to do future communityengagement projects.
Students were involved in this as a service-learning project outside their curriculum. They learned a great deal from design to construction, acquiring skills like project planning, construction and budgeting knowledge, community engagement, and collaboration. Most importantly, they learned empathy through interaction with Ah Ma and other stakeholders. This project was challenging because of safety regulations in Singapore and restrictions on volunteer participation in construction. Students had to undergo a two-day construction-safety training to obtain certification. For such a small structure, all safety and building approval processes still had to be complied with, which took longer than expected.