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About (Not The) Singapore Venice Pavilion 



Closing date: 21 August 2017

The Persuasive Design Agency at The Substation is calling for proposal entries of alternative visions for the Singapore Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2018.

This competition aims to explore the future of the Biennale model, through the particular instance of the Singapore Pavilion. Competitors are encouraged to propose the broadest range of alternative visions: rituals, constructions, engagements, practices, materials, climates, atmospheres. Proposals should consider questions of scale, construction processes, waste and expense. The sourcing and shipping of materials (an expensive component of the current model), and the afterlife of all components should be carefully considered.

The competition is open to everyone. Architects, designers, artists, and students in particular are invited to participate, either as individuals or in teams, from Singapore or elsewhere.

Physical submissions will be exhibited as part of Discipline the City at The Substation for the duration of Act I.


Issue and Challenge

Since 1980, the International Architecture Exhibition (Biennale Architettura) of La Biennale di Venezia has served as an exposition of leading ideas in the field of architecture. It is a moment in which an appointed director attempts to read—or, in the recent case of Rem Koolhaas, to go polemically against—the intellectual climate of the discipline. This professional mood is mercurial; variously, directors have promoted topics such as technology, sustainability, historicism, ethics, contextualism, and social engagement. National pavilions have sought to emphasize a particular issue or a facet of industry, all the while being photogenic and press-worthy. The Singapore Pavilion, for its part, has attempted to balance two aims: highlighting a facet of the nation’s socio-physical environment, and making a case for the global relevance of its architects.  

This model, however, has started to appear problematic in a moment of global crisis. Ecological disaster, refugee crises, protectionism, and ideological drifts toward political extremism seem to pose a future where the utopian promises of technology and internationalism seem increasingly remote. While pavilions continue their traditional charm offensive—or pay lip-service to urgent global issues—they have failed to pose convincing responses to new technological, political, or climatic concerns. It is time to ask: can the “new” pavilion move away from national advertisement, toward new roles and engagements with the public? Can it question the assumption of “object-ness,” or “room-ness,” toward other ways of being?


Timeline [Updated 24 Aug] 

August 21, 2017
First stage entries to be submitted

August 28, 2017
Shortlisted teams will be announced

September 2 - 3, 2017
Three shortlisted teams will take part in an open, public workshop at The Substation. Teams will receive a mentor, and will work to develop the potentials of their concept for two full days. An unlimited number of additional participants may join the team for this event. The final submission will be submitted at end of day on 3 September.

September 9, 2017
Final presentation and judging round

September 10, 2017
Announcement of winners



First Prize: S$10,000 and zero official influence over the design of Singapore’s 2018 pavilion.

Runner-ups: S$2,000 each



Learn about our jurors here.




This Case Competition is run by the Persuasive Design Agency as part of The Substation's Discipline The City exhibition. 

Have questions about the competition?


How to apply

The application has both a digital and hard copy component.

1. Digital Component
Email the following to:
- An application form (Downloadable here)
- PDF submission of first stage entry. Including any drawings (plan, section, axonometric, other), perspective views, diagrams, or other images.

2. Hard copy component
- A1 board in landscape format, delivered to:
The Substation
45 Armenian Street
Singapore 179936





Q. Is there a site within the 2018 biennial that the alternative pavilion must be situated in? If there is no site, does the entry need to propose a site for it?

A. The competition assumes no site for the pavilion. If the selected site in Venice is significant to the scheme, then the submitting individual/team is free to propose where it would be situated. However, if this is not a feature of the proposal, no site is necessary.

Q. Will the entry be judged solely on the A1 board or can additional attachments be submitted as part of the judging materials?

A. The first round of judging will shortlist teams based on the A1 board only. Shortlisted teams will be notified, and will continue to develop their schemes at a public workshop at The Substation (Singapore) on 2 and 3 Sept. The final judging and award will be based on this second phase of design. 

Q. Will it be possible for the judging committee to consider an extension of the submission deadline?

A. Unfortunately, this is not possible due to the competition's role in the Discipline The City exhibition at The Substation. Please bear in mind that the initial submission (for shortlisting) does not require conventional architectural representations. Schemes will be selected on the strength of the concept--representation on the panels may be as simple as a series of sketches, a rough concept model, or a written description. 

Q. Who are the jurors?

A. The jurors are being confirmed and will be announced in the coming week.