A look back at FuturArc’s stories and happenings in 2023

Commentary, Online Exclusive Feature / 2023

A look back at FuturArc’s stories and happenings in 2023

December 29, 2023

Shaping a more sustainable built environment is a process that takes place over many years. As architects and designers—which make up FuturArc‘s contributors, interviewees and collaborators—we understand the importance of time in realising projects, as well as the importance of taking a pause to learn from what we have created. Looking back at the myriad print and online stories we published this year, which themes managed to strike a chord with our readership? What sorts of activities and happenings were most fruitful? As we wrap up our journey through 2023, let’s delve into the highlights of our content this year!

Across categories, here are readers’ favourite projects …

How does one retain a historical urban asset while making it relevant to present-day conditions and context? Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect Co., Ltd. took up the task of converting Bangkok’s crown gem of a park—one that was established for Her Majesty Queen Sirikit—into a thriving public treasure that contributes its ecological and hydrological functions to the betterment of the urban landscape. Read more:

One of the much-anticipated transportation projects in Jakarta is the mass rapid transit (MRT) expansion. Two more phases of expansion will connect the railway to West and North Jakarta near the coast, supporting trade, commerce and heritage tourism activities in the area. Considering how the MRT’s connectivity has helped reinvigorate older neighbourhoods such as Blok M, it is also aimed to revitalise historic and cultural spaces in its next phase, notably the Batavia old town, also known as Kota Tua. Read more:

On the northern shore of Semarang—one of the oldest cities in Java Island, sometimes called the Venice of Java for its coastal and riverine geography—is a new township development spanning up to 500 hectares called Pearl of Java. The first public facility to be completed in the township is Binus Edupark, an education complex spanning early childhood to high school with a university campus. Read more:

Expert insights and conversations that resonated …

PAREX seems to be a bed of roses running along the banks of Pasig River, a solution to add connectivity in the capital, ease the traffic, and provide a public transit at par with international standards. So, what could go wrong? A lot. After the approval of technical and financial aspects of PAREX by the Toll Regulatory Board in 2021, arguments from cultural and environmental advocates and planners started to emerge, outweighing the possibilities of the ‘beneficial’ infrastructure. Read more:

The relationship between humans and animals is complex and multifaceted. When it comes to designing shelters for animals, our minds often conjure images of professional architects and engineers devising innovative and functional structures for zoos, wildlife parks or conservation centres. Animals are generally only cared for if they are of any direct benefit to humans. However, an equally vital but often overlooked aspect of animal shelter design exists—one done as an act of service. Read more:

“Macet!”, meaning traffic jam, is an exclamation too often heard in Jakarta’s streets. It is no simple matter to unravel transportation issues in Indonesia’s most populous metropolis. Over 11 million people reside in the 660-square-kilometre land area, seeing an additional 7 million workers commuting from satellite cities each weekday. During peak hours, it is common practice for workers to depart 2 to 3 hours ahead of time—or else they will be locked in kilometres-long traffic. Read more:

Readers’ favourite magazine covers of 2023 …

Alongside our website and app, the ‘backbone’ of FuturArc‘s content is our quarterly print magazine (a format preferred by 51 per cent of our audience), publishing four issues per year. Every issue explores a specific theme in the field of Green and sustainable architecture—you can click here to view our previous years’ themes, or view our upcoming editorial themes here. Each magazine cover has been masterfully created by our lead designer Hans Lim to succinctly illustrate the content. Over Instagram polls, our readers voted on their favourite cover of 2023, which is a tie between the 2nd Quarter issue (Old is Gold) and the 4th Quarter issue (Water)!

“Change is inevitable. Therefore, conservation is the management of change. And heritage is always in motion, moving from the past to the present and the future.”

One seldom sees heritage as something fluid, let alone a movement of the past to the present and future. And yet, it is. Through what lens are we looking at heritage architecture? 

We highlighted several projects that we hope will convey the delicate and sensitive nature of conservation—from reviving countryside architecture, ecosystems and livelihoods to centuries-old houses and decades-old condominiums—through restoring not just buildings, but also the mindset and soul of the people.

The idea that the future is water has taken root in various parts of the world, with sea level rise and hydrometeorological phenomena causing floods or droughts at increasing extremity.

Taking water as an elemental cue, this issue reminds us of the necessity of designing with Nature-based principles to include all environmental factors, the lay of the land, as foundational—and not just as remedial steps or mitigation solutions.

Water in its raw element is a force to be reckoned with, as experienced many a time with typhoons, floods and other natural climatic events. Whether we float, sink or swim in the near future depends largely on what we choose to do now.

Hong Kong sees the first-ever FuturArc Blue-Green Run!

Closing out the year on Sunday, 31 December 2023 is the last day of FuturArc’s inaugural running event, organised by our BCI Central Hong Kong team! We had tons of fun at the Cheering Day held on 9 December, where runners and built environment professionals in the city gathered for an evening of celebration and raised funds for our beneficiary organization, Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong. The run was held with the support of our sponsors GROHE Hong Kong Limited; Samsung Electronics H.K. Co., Ltd.; Glory Top Building Materials Limited; Play Concept Limited; and corporate partner Starch International Company Ltd. Read more:

Don’t miss out on our ongoing competition—submit your entries for 
FuturArc Prize 2024: Architecture for Life After … which will end on 9 February 2024!

The 2024 cycle of our annual competition is in full swing, with a little over a month left till the submission deadline on 9 February 2024! Since the competition’s launch on 7 September 2023, our team has conducted campus tours and promotional activities at events throughout the region, introducing the competition to a broader audience and keeping in touch with recurring partners. Read more:

We would like to thank all our contributors, partners and readers for proliferating Green knowledge and maintaining the spirit of sustainability through our publication. See you again in 2024!

To read the complete article, get your hardcopy at our online shop/newsstands/major bookstores; subscribe to FuturArc or download the FuturArc App to read the issues.