Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia
Project for a Trinational Metropolis
In maritime cultures, the sea is sometimes seen and imagined as the land: the source of livelihood, the space of everyday life and connections among people, their activities and settlements, which all gravitate toward it as the centre. Archipelagic life and structures, such as the Malay world along the Straits of Malacca and the Straits of Singapore, have evolved around the sea and relied on collaborative exchange over water.

Once part of a unified sea region, disparities and differences today characterize the trinational space of Singapore, Johor and Riau Archipelago. Despite the shared culture and history and high degree of economic synchronization, the three sides still lack common visions and approaches for cross-border urban development.

During the autumn of 2014, the Sea Region studio proposed territorial design strategies addressing nature protection, urban heritage, sea transport, aquaculture and public use of the coastlines. Together, they would lead to stronger metropolitan connections in the currently divided territory. The Singapore Strait, one of the world’s most intensely urbanized seas, has always been the lifeline of the region. The project aims to return the extraordinary sea of the Strait into the centre of the public discourse and imagination about the region’s future.


Teaching team: Milica Topalovic, Hans Hortig, Stefanie Krautzig
Researchers: Karoline Kostka, Magnus Nickl
ETH students:  Sarah Barras, Luca Bazelli, Benjamin Blocher, Panos Coucopoulos, Manuel Crepaz, Alessio De Gottardi, Martino Iorno, Simone Michel, Matthias Müller, Anna-Katharina Zahler

Special thanks to experts, collaborators and guests: Kersten Geers, Markus Ng, Lukas Pauer, Bas Princen, Juria Toramae and BAPPEDA BATAM (Municipal Planning Authority of Batam): Wan Darussalam, Muhamad Aidil Sahalo, Yulhendri Murbarak; UNRIKA BATAM (University of the Riau Archipelago): Rahmat Kurniawan, Hendra Susanto; UTM (University of Technology Malaysia) FACULTY OF BUILT ENVIRONMENT: Prof. Ho Siong, Chau Loon Wai, Abdul Rahim Bin Ramli, Teh Bor Tsong, Goh Hong Ching, Fan Tu; MARINE DEPARTMENT MALAYSIA: En. Shah Habidin, En. Nordin; IRDA (Urban Redevelopment Authority): Ms Jafaar, Mr Shafirul; PORT OF SINGAPORE AUTHORITY: Lim Tian Yew, Daniel Lim; NUS DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE: Eric G. L’Hereux, Jörg Rekittke; NUS DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING: Prof. Vladan Babovic; NUS ASIA RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Rita Padawangi and THE ISLAND FOUNDATION: Heena Patel.

Special thanks to ETH ZURICH and FUTURE CITIES LABORATORY: Kay Axhausen, Remo Burkhard, Stephen Cairns, Kees Christiaanse, Rewel Dangoy, Peter Edwards, Adrianne Joergensen, Anna Gasco, Lisa Giordano, Rudolf Krieg, Kevin Lim, Edda Ostertag, Faizah Binte Othman, Sascha Roesler, Daniel Sin Soo Meng, Cheryl Song, Ursula Suter, Amanda Tan and Ying Zhou.