Form & Function
This building in Singapore looks to push the boundaries of sustainability with an integrated designs that aims to blend in with the natural environment. The new construction is the home of The School of Design and Environment at the University of Singapore.
As the school’s name suggests, it’s new building had to deliver with cutting edge sustainable designs and features. A key aspect of the building is its contemporary architecture design which demonstrates a deep understanding of the tropical climate of Singapore.
The climate-responsive building houses a mix of research laboratories, design studios, as well as teaching and common learning spaces over six floors, covering a gross floor area of 8,588 square meters. The building’s flexible design and high efficiency reflect the school’s ambitions to promote sustainable architecture and explore new forms of educational spaces.
The building will be used as a living laboratory for the testing and developing sustainable designs and technology in the real world. The design of the construction challenges the idea that high energy efficient building must be opaque. The school features a double skin-element on the east and west facades of the building. This introduces an interstitial gap designated for research purposes. Elements of the outer skin can be easily dismantled and replaced with new systems depending on the school’s research needs.
The school was built on the premise that a connection with natural systems can enhance human comfort and well-being, The School of Design and Environment at the University of Singapore integrates natural elements and nature-like qualities into its environment, with features that offer uninterrupted views to greenery, visibility of water systems, and access to daylight. Blurring the lines between the outside and inside spaces of the building.
Over 50% of the total area is naturally ventilated and most of the rooms can be opened to allow breezes, only installing air conditioning in the areas that absolutely need it. This makes the building extremely energy efficient. In fact, The School of Design and Environment is a net-zero energy building. Meaning it has the ability to produce all its own electric energy on site. The school is equipped with a solar farm on the roof top comprising more than 1,200 solar photovoltaic panels to harvest solar energy.
Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment, said, “The successful completion of SDE4 demonstrates that stringent energy targets for buildings in the tropics are achievable. Through a well-executed integrated design process, the building will also provide a comfortable and biophilic experience coupled with a low carbon footprint. This principle of fusing beauty, comfort, wellness and sustainability will be applied to the other three buildings in the precinct.”
For more stories like this, check out this post on sustainable air conditioners developed by Harvard design students. Click here.