Project 2A – Locale (Research)

On the 24th of February, Saturday…

I went to Marsiling!

The journey was from my house, Punggol -> 119 -> Sengkang -> 161 -> Woodlands -> NS Line -> Marsiling

Upon reaching Marsiling, I was a bit unsure on where to start. Before this trip, I had not researched on Marsiling so that I will take in everything raw. I will make my own impression of Marsiling rather than let other people do that for me.

Zone 1

Zone 1 marked in yellow

So I decided to walk the most obvious path, which leads me to these low rising houses. They looked old and the first storey have a lot of plants! It was interesting to me as I never seen such things before (or maybe was just too used to the lack of plants in the crampy new gen HDB I live in)

As I explored, I noticed the HDB have these metal thingy jutting out of the HDB. They are bamboo pole hangers (probably upgraded as I never seen it designed like this before)








I started to notice the spaciousness of the area under the HDB. There is really very little people there.

Empty playground

Then, it started to rain. I took a glipse of the abandoned school which I find is interesting. It is not reflected on the Google Maps so I was surprised to see it.





I waited for the rain to clear and continued my journey up. So I entered Zone 2!

Zone 2





Once the rain cleared, I walked up towards Woodlands Secondary School to explore the barren lands around it. This was when there were more people — students. It’s the time for students to go home, that’s why. The barren land had a bit of construction equipments on it.





So I ended up walking towards the customs. Knowing that, I u-turned back to find more HDBs which interested me more than anything else.


Zone 3

This HDB says Welcome so I decided to enter.












I found A LOT of cats after that. It wasn’t all from one area, but around the deeper part of Marsiling, there are really a lot of them.





Some interesting structures I found in buildings around here. I started to notice these “windows” that I thought was interesting. I questioned why they existed in the first place, as they don’y really need to be around honestly.





Mini marts are also a common thing around here.

empty lobby area

Zone 4





After walking around more, I chanced upon an industrial area, which is even more empty. I decided to take the long walk around the Heavy Vehicle Park. My battery was dying at that point so I did not take a lot of pictures. That place is just… abandoned.





After exiting the vehicle park, I walked down to find Marsiling Market. The area here is very crowded and I walked down further to find a super crowded plaza area. At this point, I’m left with 5% battery so I quickly scanned through. It felt very homely and neighbourhoodly, which gave me a warm feeling.

I found myself near Woodlands MRT before my battery went flat, so I went to Woodlands and went home.


So after the first site visit, I had the impression that Marsiling is a very quiet and out of place location. I decided to create a survey to confirm my idea.

Here are the results:

I find out that most people actually thinks that Hougang is the quietest place in Singapore. This is followed by Marsiling, and then Punggol and Dakota. Thus, this supports my claim that Marsiling is super quiet.

On the 17th of March, Saturday…

I visited Marsiling again! This time, I decided to explore further into a few parts of Marsiling that I find more unique in depicting quietness.








I went in the evening so it turned dark quickly. I decided to look at the space when it is dark and discovered that it is creepier.

I also took a closer look at the windows in the HDB void decks


So from this visit, I gathered some more insights.

Using SPACE to depict quietness

So, in order to depict quietness in Marsiling, I decided to compare space with sound. When a space is empty, it is usually quiet. Drawing that reference, I started looking into the HDB space in Marsiling. Even though its no different from most other older HDB estates, the spaciousness depicted the quietness I want to show.

Another way I want to portray Marsiling is through its strangeness. Being in Marsiling makes me feel out of place, and this is probably because I stay in Punggol which is a newer area. The old-ness and the kind of vibes it give out makes me feel like the place is quite eerie. To show this strangeness, I decided to make use of the HDB pillars to warp the space.

An example is this, where I use different perspectives to change the space to make it look narrow, even though its actually pretty spacious.

Lastly, I also want to make use of the pillars and windows found in the void decks to convey the idea of “portals”, as if transported to another world.

From this gathered data, I created my presentation slides which can be found here: