SPARK envisions a sustainable floating hawker centre for Singapore. In the tradition of conceptual and visionary architecture proposals, SPARK Architects reveal their design for a floating hawker centre – the Solar Orchid. This concept for self-contained, solar-powered, floating hawker pods suggests a way to mend the now distant relationship between Singapore and its waterscapes, while celebrating and reinvigorating a favoured local pass time.

Singapore was built on an intimate relationship with the water, which has historically been an artery of culture, commerce and recreation. However, the recent decades of urban development, industrialisation and land reclamation have largely severed this relationship, deleting most of the traditional kampungs and kelongs from the coast, inland water bodies, and sea.

SPARK’s concept for a floating hawker centre draws on our experience of the city, its culture and heritage, and all that we enjoy about it, to imagine a new relationship with Singapore’s public waterscape. This visionary project imagines a mobile, reconfigurable and sustainable floating hawker centre that could ‘pop up’ in a variety of locations and formats.

The Solar Orchid recalls the mobility of the original Singaporean hawker – the mobile street vendor – with self-contained, solar-powered, lightweight floating pods. Each pod accommodates cooking stalls (incorporating built-in exhaust, water, gas, electrical, waste collection and water recycling services) as well as table settings.

The protective canopy is an energy-generating inflated ETFE pillow incorporating thin-film photovoltaic cells. It complements the $11 million Singaporean government initiative to develop floating solar islands in Singapore’s reservoirs. The Solar Orchids can be clustered together in various formations to create hawker centres that are able to respond to different locations and conditions. They would leave no trace of their presence due to their self contained nature.


Architecture: SPARK Architects

Project Director: Stephen Pimbley

Team: Lim Wenhui, Peter Morris, Anusha Bajpal, Nanako McIntosh, Chanachai