The Nation’s ‘Other’ Housing Project

Pearlbank, Pandan Valley, and Singapore’s Private High-rise Housing Landscape


  • Zihao Wong National University of Singapore



Singapore’s privatised high-rise housing landscape is the nation’s ‘other’ housing project, emerging alongside the city-state’s dominant narrative of its successful public housing project since the 1970s. Unique to Singapore’s privatised high-rise housing developments was the intervention of the state in the close regulation of scarce land. Singapore’s private high-rise housing developments thus reflect a nation’s attitude towards its land as resource, and its subsequent imaginations and productions of more ‘land’ in the construction of high-rise housing estates. State intervention also maximised these housing developments as part of wider national aspirations to the status of a global city, and for its citizens, a ‘green and gracious’ Singaporean society. Taking the Pearlbank Apartments and the Pandan Valley Condominium as two key developments of Singapore’s emerging private high-rise housing landscape in the 1970s, this article examines the production of the nation’s aspirational housing in the confluence of Singaporean state-led vision and a people’s housing aspirations.

Author Biography

Zihao Wong, National University of Singapore

Zihao Wong is a PhD student at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Architecture. His current research probes into ‘land’ as an idea, and how concepts of, and attitudes towards land and landscape have architectural implications for the house in the high-rise. Prior to this he has worked as an architectural designer and educator in Singapore. He is co-founder of Singaporean based design practice Studio Super Safari, and independent research studio The Saturday Projects.


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