FIVEFOOTWAY is the blog and design research studio of Adib Jalal
Operating beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture including media, technology, cultural studies, graphic design, education, curating and publishing, it hopes to create new experiences, understanding and possibilities of our built environment.
Formally trained as an architect, Adib is interested in the representation, curation and education of design, particularly in Singapore and Asia and operates beyond the traditional boundaries of architecture. He is currently a lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic’s Design School and has been the Festival Director of Archifest, Singapore’s annual festival of ideas about the city, since 2012.
Adib is also a consultant at Shophouse & Co. while being actively involved with the local creative community, lending his time to various organisations, workshops and projects. In 2008, Adib was invited to represent Singapore at the prestigious Venice Architectural Biennale amongst 21 other Singaporean designers.
FIVEFOOTWAY is written by Adib Jalal (misterdibster) with the occasional contribution from others. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of his editors, employers, publishers, friends, or colleagues, with whom this blog is not affiliated.
Copyright of all material on this website belongs to their respective authors/owners.
2007-2009: Bright Beginnings
Fresh out of architecture school in 2007, Adib and his class mate, Jia-Jun Yeo (JJ) started FIVEFOOTWAY as a Wordpress-powered blog about Asian cities. It grew in stature and was even mentioned by Mr Tai Lee Siang, then president of Singapore Institute of Architects, as an example of an emerging talent. The crowning achievement was when the founders of FIVEFOOTWAY were selected to represent Singapore at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The small blog continued to grow and evolved to have a team of contributors from across the world and stayed on course for a couple of years.
2010-2011: The Dark Ages
However, with JJ in the United States pursuing further opportunities and Adib holding a full-time job at a Singapore-based design firm, work on the website slowed down and eventually on a hiatus in 2010. In early 2011, the website was so neglected that it got hacked into, overtaken by spammers and all archives of the website since the beginning were wiped out.
2012: The bold experiment
In mid 2011, Adib left his job to explore new opportunities and decided to attempt a re-boot of the website. A new core team made up of Justin Zhuang, Rachel Koh and Mark De Winne was assembled to push it into unchartered territories and together charted out a bold one-year experiment.
FIVEFOOTWAY in 2012 tested out a paid subscription model with custom-designed articles, breaking away from the blog format. The magazine also expanded its scope to cover fiction, infographics and photography as a means to explore issues about the city.
The bold experiment piqued interest in FIVEFOOTWAY once more and led to a commission to curate and direct Singapore's annual festival of ideas about the city, Archifest, resulting in the creation of the studio wing of FIVEFOOTWAY. Although the paid subscription model did not take-off, the thought leadership of FIVEFOOTWAY was re-established. At the last quarter of 2012, the team sat down and collectively decided that despite its successes, the way forward needs to be a new one.
2013: "Episode IV:A new hope"
After weeks of reflection, Adib decided that the way forward was to consolidate the identity and positioning of FIVEFOOTWAY, recalibrating it as a blog and design research studio. His other online presences on misterdibster.net and Tumblr made way for a refreshed FIVEFOOTWAY website in an attempt to focus all his energy into a single entity. The sections of the website were also adapted to suit the new format with the topics explored expanded to include other related disciplines. Along with this, the website was also shifted to a new publishing engine and redesigned to be mobile friendly.