HDB LIVINGSPACE Gallery
HDB LIVINGSPACE Gallery
4
Educational sitesHistory MuseumsGovernment Buildings
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
About 80% of Singapore’s resident population live in public housing built by the Housing & Development Board (HDB). The HDB LIVINGSPACE gallery is a one-stop destination that chronicles the evolution of public housing in Singapore, and features HDB’s journey in providing well-designed, sustainable, and community-centric homes. Spanning 2 levels (Basement 1 and Level 1) at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh, HDB LIVINGSPACE Gallery features 8 distinctive spaces: Journey; Plan; Eco; Share; Create; Future; Theatre; and HomeScape. Each can be enjoyed on its own or together. The gallery can also be accessed anytime, anywhere on the HDB InfoWEB. Check out the 360-degree interactive virtual gallery at go.gov.sg/hdblivingspace-virtual
Duration: 1-2 hours
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles15 reviews
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Your Travel Buddy SG
Singapore, Singapore31,992 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Solo
A place that our national housing and development shares the history of public housing in singapore. From the exhibits, I can see that we have come a long way. Informative!
Written 18 July 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adam D
Townsville, Australia145 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2017 • Friends
What a fantastic experience, it was so cool to see floor plans of Singaporean flats and how they live. They also had 3D models of previous and future housing developments which was really neat. If you wanna see an authentic Singaporean experience, this is one!
Written 18 January 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KGB777
Singapore, Singapore41,363 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Family
Although this gallery comes across more as an exercise in government propaganda, it is nevertheless an interesting display on developments in public housing in Singapore. And credit should be given for the evolution in the quality of housing in Singapore from the 1960s (when essentially much of Singapore was a giant swamp with inadequate housing) to the present day where about 80% of the population lives in public housing. The video display showing happy Singaporean families is a little over the top, but the rest of the display is worth a look.
Written 17 January 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EarthlingOnline
Worldwide3,744 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Solo
When I first heard about the HDB Gallery, I thought it would be fascinating - knowing Singapore's prowess and pride in its planning. I also imagined how I might design such a place, as a fan (but not a completely uncritical fan) of such planning. To explain – I'm not Singaporean, but have Singaporean family. On my first visits to Singapore in the 1970s I stayed in houses. Since the 1980s mostly in HDB flats and private condos – almost a dozen different ones in all (and in a couple of parallels in Malaysia, one of which *has* been turned into a hotel you can stay at in Penang). I have a great appreciation for the planning and design of these neighbourhoods, at least when they are at their best (when one is located next to a park, convenient to a MRT station and bus interchange, a short walk to a good wet market, supermarkets operating 24/7, at least one good nearby hawker centre, bank, library, etc.). Even better if one can work, at least part of the time, virtually from such a place. Indeed, Singapore's planning, highlighted by the best of its New Towns, is the most intriguing aspect of the city state IMHO. When in Singapore, staying at one of these places with family, I am a bit saddened that most visitors get inadequate opportunity to experience this lifestyle – which is impossible to fathom from a hotel room, hostel bunk, or guesthouse. (Of course, other cities do somewhat parallel things, and better in some aspects {e.g. denser urban rail system coverage in some cities, better biking infrastructure}. Nevertheless, the unique assemblage in Singapore is interesting, and worthy of showing more effectively to visitors.)

So what might a good HDB gallery show? Could it be designed for both residents and visitors? Well, with good multimedia and thoughtful design, it should be enlightening and entertaining for both aware residents and curious but new-to-Singapore visitors. Presently, I don't believe that this potential is realized (even remotely). Some exhibits are non-functional. One exhibit is at such low volume that some people will not be able to hear it. Several exhibits are more propaganda (which all Singaporeans know, but which needs more context to be useful to visitors). Some materials demonstrate that HDB claims to be doing certain good things but isn't really on top of what it could do (such as environmentally effective improvements in energy efficiency, cost-effectively improving the ambiance of HDB areas, etc.).

The cenrepiece of the gallery is a circular theatre, which shows a brief video, which is essentially a montage of photos of historic and more recent images of Singapore, and Singaporeans, with musical accompaniment. It seems more patriotic PR than informative. The historic images were interesting to me – but the propaganda flavouring was a bit nagging. The video is touted as path-breaking 360-degree presentation. However, it's actually a multiply-repeated blend of smaller videos (I didn't measure precisely – 3x120-degree videos?), so the touting may be technically correct, but embarrassingly trivialized by how this was achieved. {Editorial comment: this room could have at least two videos: (1) one for Singaporeans, with the propaganda replaced with enlightening information. A committee truly representative of Singaporeans could surely design something appropriate. (2) one for visitors. Again, enlightening and entertaining. This should also be easy to do, by a qualified cross-sectional grouping of aware people – perhaps blending HDB staff, Singaporeans aware of HDB but independent of any governmental agency, and a few foreigners long-term resident in Singapore.}

The next gallery (if one follows their suggested route) starts with a potentially interesting holographic presentation. In front of the gallery visitor, if s/he stands in front of the (holographic) display screen, is a series of four touch screens, set into a kitchen counter-top. The screens are actually overkill. They only serve as buttons. It would probably be better (and would have been cheaper from the outset) to replace the screens with the simpler buttons. Pressing any of the buttons gets one a ~one-minute holographic skit pushing one or another point that HDB has tried to make over recent years. For residents, those are too trivial and repetitive – as those points were made (“ad nausea”) in local media over the past few years. For visitors, those omit background which could make them informative and interesting. For everyone, the volume was so low when I visited, that one has difficulty in hearing the messages.

Other rooms present some more PR. (“Propaganda” as opposed to information of maximum value to residents or visitors?). One display is intended to test one's knowledge of HDB (individual estates, or the hole package?). That display was non-operational when I visited. Another interactive display let one “drill down” to select HDB New Towns (e.g. Bedok or Pasir Ris) according to general location (e.g. west, north, east, north-east). One then gets a set of consistent screens with background info. One can see the locations of community clubs, shopping centres, parks, etc. This could be entertaining and useful. However, to be useful, much more detail is needed. For example, under “parks” for Pasir Ris, only Pasir Ris Town Park was shown. That New Town is crammed to the gills with diverse park options which are unfortunately omitted on that display. For example, the small, local, “Time Park” has a fitness area with equipment especially for seniors, a paved open area which is used by a plethora of groups doing TaiChi, etc, several seating areas (where folks gather for a smoke and/or a chat), open grassy space (some of which might be used more if there were more shade trees), etc. Pasir Ris Park (a “national” park which runs along the seashore), the Park Connector (a biking-walking-jogging trail designed to become part of a trans-island network connecting major parks), etc. etc. In short, the display could help people see what's in their neighbourhood, and does a disservice to all those folks who designed, built, maintain and enjoy that sophisticated tapestry of park spaces.

Currently, there is also a display which asks questions about views on HDB policies. How that was designed and implemented is a bit of a wonder. It looks like primary-school level queries about HDB policies/promotions/programmes – then asks if those you agree that those policies are good or not.

What would I do?
1. For that 360-degree video room, I would design a history of housing, and of housing design, through the decades in Singapore. This would show examples of the surroundings and insides of buildings in each decade since the 1950s. If desired, there could be a menu of buttons (or a remote control, and/or a phone app to fulfill this function) so people could select the decades that they might be interested in – at an appropriate part of the video presentation. That would be designed to be historically accurate, perceptive (not propagandistic), and entertaining.
2. Also for that 360-degree video room, I would compile a collection of true 360-degree “walk-through” tour videos. In short, re-creating visits to those flats guided by an estate agent. I would have videos which exhibited showroom-quality examples of different sizes and floor plans, decorated according to diverse ethnicities (e.g. model Indian, Malay, Chinese, International traditional or modern). It should be easy and relatively inexpensive for HDB to sponsor a contest, which would invite flat owners, and renovation contractors, to produce videos for consideration for (a) awards for flat design and video quality, and (b) for editing for use in the HDB Gallery. The actual 360-degree virtual reality video production could then be done by a specialty firm for the Gallery. A control panel (or remote control? Or phone app?) could be used to select between the different flat designs. If a phone app, that app might also be designed to facilitate visitor comments on the designs, and on the HDB Gallery itself. (Remember that not everyone, especially visitors, may have Singapore smartphones, so any app should be a supplement for a check-out remote control or other device.)
3. I would show models of New Towns from various decades. Showing evolving concepts of transport access, convenient access to food and other shopping, polyclinics, landscaping for increased environmental comfort, parks and recreation, etc. This section might also present evolving concepts, and implementations, of upgrading programmes (e.g. lift upgrading).
4. I would have a “virtual walk-through” of a flat selection process. E.g. showing sample floor plans of the most popular 3-room, 4-room, 5-room (e.g. 5A, 5Improved, 5AMaisonette, 5Premium, 5Standard), and other types, offering a brief comparative summary of people's views on them. (E.g. space-efficiently what do people like, or dislike, in 4-room New Generation flat compared with others?). This could be enlightening and entertaining for residents and visitors alike. That virtual walk-through might need multiple workstations, as it might be popular.
5. I would show models of potential future designs.

I read that the HDB Gallery was opened in 2010. It appears that it has not been seriously re-assessed since then. Nor, perhaps, has anyone adjusted or fixed anything that has broken since then, like some of the interactive edutainment systems. Suggestions for such adjustments/fixes can be implied from the above text.

When people buy a flat in Singapore, the first question that is asked of them is “What might you be planning for your renovation?”

It's time to renovate the HDB gallery. Possible considerations, and suggestions for improvements, are offered above.
Written 3 November 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

HeatSeeker
Wrexham, UK4,938 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2014 • Couples
In the 1960s most people in Singapore lived in dreadful conditions, in homes without sanitation. This is the story of how the country improved, today most live in comfortable apartments. It also explains how the community spirit is built in these new towns.
Being Singapore, the presentation is lively with multi-media. There’s one room with a 360 degree video show. You must wait there when the countdown reaches 6 minutes, if you leave the room the countdown resets to 10 minutes!
The subject covered is very important to Singapore, the Prime Minister speaks the commentary on one video.
The gallery is near the HDB hub, it’s in the east block, look for the POSB bank and go down the escalator near it. We saw no signs pointing to it. Spend some time in the HDB hub, and see how people choose where they’d like to live.
The Gallery is in a shopping mall. So all facilities are available including toilets, and food.
If you only have time to see the city highlights, perhaps it’s not for you. But if you want to understand what life is like in the real Singapore, don’t miss it. If you live here, it’s essential.
Written 12 March 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kahn
Tokyo, Japan23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Solo
Might not be an interesting place for all, but as an university student have interest in economic development of Singapore, HDB was surely a nice place to visit.

They have many fun stuffs to entertain kids, such as touch screens, dioramas, and projection mapping.
Written 25 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MummyRei
Singapore, Singapore416 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2018 • Family
I work in HDB Hub office tower but this is the first time I have visited the gallery with my family as it has recently revamped. It was great! I think it’s a must visit place for local residents and tourists. It’s like a museum. Kids love the slide too. It’s beautifully done up. I will visit again when I have more time. And it’s free entry! Near to Toa Payoh MRT Station.
Written 18 October 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LML1963
Singapore, Singapore263 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Couples
It is an essential place to visit when any eligible party is ready to apply for a public housing unit in Singapore. The gallery showcases all various units types of mockup apartments (2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-room) in fully dressed-up conditions. Further, it provides useful renovation tips via the multimedia capabilities.
Written 28 October 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Shibehunter
Singapore79 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Solo
If you are a tourist, you can visit this, but nothing interesting. If you plan on visiting this, you can also walk around toa payoh HDB hub shopping mall (toa payoh centre). Bus Interchange nearby
Written 21 October 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel
Singapore, Singapore21 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Friends
This is a place I like to go to. The HDB gallery itself (located in the basement) is an exhibition about the history and development of public housing in Singapore. It is interesting, but feels a bit like a commercial.

However, if you go to the ground flour you can walk around and have a look at models of new developments and housing areas. If you then go to the third storey (via a link bridge), you can go and have a look at life-sized show flats in all the different sizes available. This can give you a good insight into how Singaporeans live and will definitely be worth a visit for people who are interested in this kind of things.

It's also free.
Written 19 February 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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