FIVEFOOTWAY is a journal about Asian cities. Founded by Adib Jalal and JJ Yeo in 2007, the online magazine featured interviews, essays and explorations about architecture and urban design in Asia. In 2012, with the new editorial team of Justin Zhuang, Rachel Koh and Mark de Winne, the blog evolved to become a subscription-based online magazine and explored the topic of urbanism in Asian cities through expanded mediums such as fiction, infographics and photo-essays. A thought leader in the Singapore architecture scene, the team presented its ideas at various platforms and co-founder, Adib Jalal, was invited to direct Singapore’s annual festival of ideas about the city, Archifest in 2012.
In 2014, FIVEFOOTWAY went into permanent archives after 7 years online. Read the final post here.
2007-2009: Bright Beginnings
Fresh out of architecture school in 2007, Adib Jalal and his class mate, Jia-Jun Yeo (JJ) started FIVEFOOTWAY as a WordPress-powered blog about Asian cities. It grew in stature and was mentioned by Mr Tai Lee Siang, then president of Singapore Institute of Architects, as an example of an emerging talent in the local architecture scene. The team also embarked on The Magical Spaces Project, which put the team on the radar of the community with their creative interpretations of architectural issues. The founders of FIVEFOOTWAY were then selected to represent Singapore at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008 and the blog continued to grow with a team of contributors from across the world.
2010-2011: The Dark Ages
As the co-founders started their full-time design careers, with JJ in the United States and Adib at a Singapore-based design firm, work on the website slowed down and eventually went on a hiatus in 2010. In early 2011, the website got hacked into and overtaken by spammers with all archives of the website since the beginning wiped out.
2012: The bold experiment
In mid-2011, Adib left his job to explore new opportunities and attempted 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 embarked on 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 injected a new energy to FIVEFOOTWAY and led to a commission to curate and direct Singapore’s annual festival of ideas about the city, Archifest 2012. At the last quarter of 2012, the team sat down to assess the performance of the new model and decided that and collectively decided that despite its successes, the way forward needs to be a new one. A complete reboot was in order.
At the end of the year-long experiment, the team sat down to assess the performance of the new model and decided that despite the renewed interest in the website, it was not financially sustainable to continue. Another hiatus was in order.
2013-2014: “Episode IV:A new hope” ?
FIVEFOOTWAY flirted with various possibilities including other publishing engines, expanded topics, converting it to a personal site, and more. At the end of 2014, Adib joined Shophouse & Co as a Director and decided that FIVEFOOTWAY as a project will be permanently archived.