Accidental Space

In Singapore, where land is scarce, space is premium. The government is well aware of that and try to maximize every available piece of it.

My usual workday morning route means passing along back alleys of public housing (“HDB“) blocks northwards to the nearest bus stop. Along this route I always cross a certain HDB block, number 118, whose external layout produced nooks and corners, probably due to internal room layout. The location of Block 118 is shown below (I stay somewhere at the center of the neighborhood):

Google Street View shows it like this:


The front gable might be formed by a common bedroom, while the opposite end (with the small bathroom window) might be the Master bedroom. The niche is then formed by a storage room in between. Our flat has a similar layout.

On URA‘s street map view below, the layout is clearer. Note that the end of Block 118 curls up to meet Block 119. Typically, the government disallows the public to use these type of voids made by HDB flats.


Here I snapped a photo of the nook. Someone, perhaps the old couple living at the ground floor nearby had this idea, and they’re not even architects. “Accidental” spaces can indeed be transformed into fully functional ones.


P.S.: A few days later the bench was quietly taken away, probably in fear that we are undercover officers.

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