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 even mentioned by Mr Tai Lee Siang, then president of Singapore Institute of Architects, as an example of an emerging talent. The Magical Spaces Project, an attempt to capture the magic of favorite spaces around the city, put the team on the radar of the community with their creative interpretations of architectural issues. 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 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 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. A complete reboot was in order.
2013: “Episode IV:A new hope” ?
The future was unclear. In this year, FIVEFOOTWAY flirted with various possibilities: other publishing engines, expanded topics, a personal site, and more. In late November, a project to rebuild the archives of all FIVEFOOTWAY content since it’s inception in 2007 was considered but with a lack of resources, it was postponed indefinitely.
2014: The End
The decision was taken for FIVEFOOTWAY will be permanently shelved.