FuturArc Showcase

Jan-Feb 2017 

Beauty in Zero

How the new net-zero energy building at the National University of Singapore sets about (re)connecting building performance with architectural quality.

There is a myth that Green design is at odds with architectural quality, premised on the belief that building performance can be delivered independently of architectural form. This can be traced back to the 50s and 60s with the advent of air-conditioning in Asia. There was some pushback in the 70s, triggered by the oil crises, which led to building codes in places like Singapore that sought to limit weakness in envelope design.

Subsequent improvements to the efficiency of cooling systems and envelope glazing, plus a succession of architectural styles and movements, freed architects to imagine forms without worrying too much about daylight and ventilation. By the time the Green movement rolled around in the late 90s, form and energy had become, for the most part, independent discussions, entrusted to different consultants with divergent views on what makes a good building.

Find out more about how the new net-zero energy building at the National University of Singapore sets about (re)connecting building performance with architectural quality.

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Previously Published FuturArc Showcase (Abstracts)
Located in Bumthang, the National Happiness Centre celebrates Bhutan as the first country in the world to replace the conventional GDP and the HDI indicators with the GNH index. The objective of the centre is to spread the Bhutanese philosophy of happiness through daily meditation and practising Zen with everyone who visits.
We turn the spotlight on two winning projects from the FuturArc Green Leadership Award. One is a showroom in Vietnam and the other an educational centre in Indonesia. Both are projects rooted in vernacular architecture. One took a more modern spin; the other remained quaintly rustic.
The library bears shades of resemblance to the work of Glen Murcutt, more than that of Geoffrey Bawa, the Sri Lankan icon of design. In this space, how does an architect craft poetry that is also socially compelling? How does s/he use the building process to also create new skills and capabilities in the community?
In this Showcase section, we focus on two winning schemes that have won in FuturArc Green Leadership Award's Commercial category this year. Both are factory projects that highlight refreshingly different aspects of looking at such a typology through the Green building lens.
The Osaka Timber Association Building, constructed primarily out of wood, stands out from the street lined with mainly concrete and steel structures, while the house boldly experiments with the notions of tropical dwelling, where sustainability is interpreted through passive means.
The Green Energy Laboratory (GEL) was built as a result of an agreement between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Protection of the Territory and the Sea.
The building is located on an island naturally separated from its immediate surroundings, while still highly visible from both the city and the water. Thus interaction with the water and the coastline is visually dominant, and the cold sea water is pumped into the building’s cooling system to take advantage of the site’s location.
Sustainability in industrial architecture is often interpreted in basic Green technology and building design terms—beyond their functional role as facilities for manufacturing, plants and production sites are not often expected to deliver more, whether in terms of architectural aesthetics or humanistic aspirations...

May-Jun 2013


MPAS Awards 2014 | Single Article Design of the Year | WINNER

One is a private house in Singapore redesigned and rebuilt to realise the occupant’s intent for a Greener lifestyle—a tropical abode embedded in greenery that is site-sensitive; the other a state-of-the-art zero carbon building (ZCB) in Hong Kong...


4Q 2012


Approximately 30 to 45 minutes from Jetwing Vil Uyana lies the Minneriya National Park, where the FuturArc editorial team were brought by Chaminda Jayasekara (Resident Naturalist at the hotel) to witness our first Elephant Gathering...
3Q 2012

This year's FuturArc Showcase we focus on two winning residential projects of the FuturArc Green Leadership Award—Singapore's 36BTrd and Malaysia's S11 House. Both houses attempt to be as self-sustaining as possible in terms of using renewable resources and energy efficiency...


1Q 2012
Twentieth century inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, well known for coming up with the concept of geodesic domes, envisioned a broad, space-spanning envelope that encompassed a city to save energy and to protect its occupants against pollution. First unveiled at the Milan Triennale in 1954, it was a utopian idea...

3Q 2011

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) is a 550-bed acute hospital designed with a focus on patients' needs and a careful consideration for environmental sustainability. Located in the north of Singapore, the integrated healthcare facility spans over 3.4 hectares and overlooks Yishun Pond. Its design incorporates natural ventilation and exterior envelope strategies as part of a Total Building Performance approach to minimise operating costs and enhance patient comfort...
The increasing socioeconomic disparity between urban and rural areas due to urbanisation and economic development has made social relationships increasingly loose and in danger of disintegration. In the remote villages, having spaces for communal activities, kindergartens, health care stations, post offices, libraries and so on...


1Q 2011
CONNECTING CITIES by Y-Jean Mun-Delsalle
An emerging paradigm, Green infrastructure is a life support system for the city provided by a network of interconnected natural ecosystems, which supports long-term sustainability and forges a healthier relationship between people and their environment...

4Q 2010
UNCOMMON SENSE by Dr Nirmal Kishnani and Candice Lim
An eco-resort seems like a perverse notion in itself, a contradiction of terms. How can a resort be truly eco-friendly when, by the very nature of its business, it must site itself close to natural habitats and biodiversity, close enough to disrupt nature’s cycles with injections of waste and pollution...
3Q 2010
Steven Holl, the principle architect of Shenzhen Vanke Headquarter, calls it “a horizontal skyscraper over a maximised landscape”. Indeed, the elevated longitudinal form sprawls across the landscape, reinterpreting the horizon and nature as well as the working space for the occupants. The client—one of the largest property developers in the world...

2Q 2010

We've never seen anything quite like it. Far from just a "hippie campus in the jungle"—as some sceptics are wont to call it—the Green School comes across as awe-inspiring, graceful even; there is a curvaceous, sculptural and almost malleable quality to both the buildings and interior furnishings built and crafted out of bamboo...

4Q 2009

A collaboration to bring life to a community.
"When you are Master of your body, word and mind, You shall rejoice in perfect serenity."
Tibetan Hermit, Shabkar (1781 — 1851)

3Q 2009


The lantern-shaped Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies in Ningbo is a 22-metre-tall beacon of sustainability—the winner of the 2009 MIPIM Green Building Award has been designed to minimise its environmental impact by promoting energy efficiency, generating its own energy from renewable sources, and using locally available materials with low embodied energy wherever possible...

2Q 2009

PEOPLE-DRIVEN RECONSTRUCTION OF LIVES by Uplink Banda Aceh and Gabriela Sauter

When disasters strike, leaving homes and lives wiped out, the physical reconstruction of buildings and houses is not the only means to help survivors rebuild their lives. In a way, during post-disaster times, architectural end results are no longer the sole concern; it is bringing back the community economy, culture and spirit, driven by the affected people...

3Q 2008


One hundred and eleven years after the completion of the definitive skyscraper in the 1899 Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building of Chicago, the Pearl River Tower in faraway Guangzhou, China, looks set to mark a new milestone in the evolution of this quintessentially urban built form, when it is completed in 2010.

2Q 2008


Gardens, are, by definition, unnatural; they are manmade. Yet, in their myriad manifestations throughout history, these planned spaces have arguably represented man’s most earnest attempts to express his close connection with Nature, and at times, his seeming supremacy over it.


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