Self-initiated project






A shelter designed for homeless individuals in Singapore




Students from Singapore Polytechnic with WY-TO

“A sustainable and inclusive shelter for people who are homeless,

in harmony with the Communities and the Built Environment”

There has long been a glaring lack of awareness on the issue of homelessness in Singapore because people who are homeless and the struggles they face are often overlooked in our day to day experiences. We therefore aim to shine light on these invisible individuals, in hopes of moving our society towards having more empathy regarding their situation.

There are currently transitional shelters and welfare homes that provide basic necessities for people who are homeless. But these shelters are oftentimes not specifically designed for them and do not sufficiently accommodate for their needs. Defensive architecture has often been the most prevalent response, aimed at preventing people from sleeping in public spaces. These different but limited approaches show a need for a shelter designed purposefully and positively to support the needs of people who are homeless.

This shelter presents an important opportunity to not only raise awareness on the issue of homelessness in our society, but to provide a design solution. The key points that shelter aims to address are: the provision of basic needs (Rest, Store, Sanitary), the shelter functioning as a transitory living space, facilitating social interactions with other members of society, protecting the user from the elements (physical) and giving them the sense of security (mental).

FLOWS serves as a stepping ground for potential progression in life, setting a second skin to shelter and support transitory users in their struggles for a permanent shelter and social mobility. This provides users with an essential support into entering a new flow of life.

Based on human ergonomics around the 5 extreme points of the human body, a pentagonal geometry is formed,which alludes to its function as a second skin. Its enclosed interior form provides a sense of safety and privacy while remaining partially open to encourage social interaction.

The presence of such a shelter in public spaces challenges the social invisibilisation of homelessness as a pertinent issue in Singapore. It emphasises that people who are homeless are not alone and that society has a collective awareness and responsibility to the situations they are facing.

Aligned with the theme of Archifest 2020 “Architecture Saving Our World”, the shelter is built entirely out of timber. Timber is sustainable, lightweight, 100% biodegradable, portable and renewable material as compared to concrete. With a lower carbon footprint it is ecologically less damaging to produce than concrete and steel. There are concerns regarding the use of timber in terms of load-bearing, fire safety, and termite attacks, especially in Singapore’s tropical climate. But these concerns can be countered with proper measures.