A three-year pictorial project that captures the colours, culture and diversity behind the doors of Singapore’s ubiquitous HDB flats.
HDB Homes of Singapore is a 680-page, 11-pounds-heavy, 12-inches-wide book that is a little intimidating at first; but, if you take a closer look, you discover a compelling compendium of Singapore’s history — bricks-and-mortar style.
It all started with a Japanese couple’s idea to capture the essence of Singapore’s HDB flats in photographs. In a hunt to find a place to live in Singapore, fine-art printer Eitaro Ogawa and art educator Tamae Iwasaki were drawn to the character and charm of the units they had visited, coming to realise that the homes were not just rigid, compartmentalised living areas, but captured reflections of diverse characters and personalities.
The husband-and-wife team embarked on a project to document more than 100 HDB homes to produce a book to spread their discovery to a wider public and to dispel misconceptions in relation to the ‘cookie-cutter’ buildings. The duo engaged the help of Tomohisa Miyauchi, senior architecture lecturer at the National University of Singapore, to make the project possible.
HDB Homes of Singapore features more than 600 stunning images and each home is photographed with a commentary based on exclusive interviews with the residents — allowing one to observe the disparities and nuances across different generations, cultures and ethnicities. Ogawa and Iwasaki debunk their own pre-conceived notion of the uniformity and sterility of the HDB flats.
Dr Liu Thai Ker, former CEO of HDB, mentions that he “hopes that this book further convinces Singaporeans that HDB flats are more than simple bricks and mortar”. The authors have done more than that with exquisite photo book as it delivers a fresh perspective on buildings we have consistently taken for granted.