Photo credits:
Danish Saroee

Kah-Wee Lee

Fellow, SCAS.
Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning, National University of Singapore

Kah-Wee Lee is Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), where he
teaches history and theory of urban planning, qualitative methods and architectural theory. He
holds a Ph.D. in Architecture (Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies) from the
University of California, Berkeley. Since 2017, he has served as the Associate Director of the
Master of Urban Planning programme at the NUS.

Lee is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work explores the relationship between space and power,
particularly through the lenses of modern professional areas such as architecture, urban planning,
law and public administration. He is the author of Las Vegas in Singapore: Violence, Progress and
the Crisis of Nationalist Modernity
(NUS Press, 2019), a history of the control of vice that casts a
critical light on the pastoral image of Singapore’s contemporary political and urban landscape. Lee’s
work has been supported by the Social Science Research Council (New York), the Center for Gaming
Research (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation (North America Chap-
ter), and the Ministry of Education (Singapore).

While at SCAS, Lee will be completing his manuscript, The World in the Casino. By tracing the libera-
lisation of the casino industry in post-millennial Asia, he asks how once-marginalised economic activi-
ties have come to cross legal, moral and spatial thresholds through the medium of architecture. For
this project, he has conducted extensive fieldwork in the cities of Singapore, Macau and Manila, build-
ing on and reframing the concepts of ‘spectacle’ and ‘exception’. Notes from his fieldwork can be
found here.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2021-22.