Starting Anew (Again) at the URA

One week ago I started work at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) of Singapore after 1 year of working at the Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA). Prior to working at DSTA I worked at Arc Studio a young and very exciting design studio where I worked for 3 years. You might know Arc by their most famous work The Pinnacles at Duxton.

I switched over to the public sector because I wanted better work life balance, I wanted to work closer to home and I wanted a more stable work environment. Everyone who knows about the building industry in Singapore knows that it’s a dynamic and relentless. As much as I enjoy detailing and coordinating the construction process I have to admit that it’s very very exhausting. As a man with a wife and 2 young kids my priorities lie elsewhere. I knew that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for in the private sector so I cast my eye on the government sector instead. And I got all that I wanted when I applied for the job of Architect at DSTA and so much more. In fact the first 6 months working at DSTA were pretty enjoyable to me.

It wasn’t until after the 6 months (unofficially termed the ‘honeymoon period’) did I realise that I was getting quite restless. Aside from all the internal politics and bureaucracy (which I understand occurs in every large organisation) there was just a fundamental mismatch with me and my job.

You see, DSTA’s role is to support the Ministry of Defence here in Singapore. So all of our projects are aligned in that direction. Unfortunately I don’t really care a lot for our nations defence. This isn’t to say that I think it’s unimportant, it’s just not something that I’m passionate about. I’d much prefer leaving that to those who enjoy making a difference in this area.

But one thing that I thank DSTA for is this; they showed me how integrated the different government agencies are working together. It’s not a perfect system but I was impressed. More thoughts on this another time though. In short, after that I was really really interested to see how things happened in other statutory boards and in particular the ones that are relevant to my professionally, more specifically, URA and the Building Construction Authority (BCA).

As an architect I care about design and how design can affect the daily lives of people. That’s something that keeps me up at night and that I am committed to. And that’s exactly what I believe URA as an organisation believes in as well. The company motto says it all: To make Singapore a great to live work and play.

I’m excited about the work that I’ll be doing here in URA and hope that through this I can make a contribution that affects future generations of Singaporeans in a positive way.

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