Enter The Thought Collective, a local social enterprise seeking a space to set up Common Ground – a civic centre meant to house various community partners under one roof, foster collaboration and drive innovation for social and community issues. As part of a testbed to study how ground-up social enterprises like theirs could transform the community, the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) provided The Thought Collective/Common Ground, with a grant to partially cover the cost of retrofitting and setting up within the building as its main tenant, with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) Social Service Office as a sub-tenant.
Red Bean Architects (RBA), having already worked on three prior projects with The Thought Collective, were engaged to design Common Ground. The pairing of the project and the architect is aptly fitting as its principal, Ar. Teo Yee Chin, has long been a vocal advocate for the rejuvenation and reuse of older buildings in lieu of their demolition. The project demonstrates this conviction, while also addressing the question: How much does one need to do in order to renew a building?