"Architecture can effect positive change, shape minds and behaviour, and purposefully impact the everyday life of our community.” Chee Huang’s vision has transformed our social spaces and enriched community life".
Growing up in a public housing estate, where people from all walks of life formed a tapestry of cultures and communities, ignited Chee Huang’s passion for exploring the social impact of architecture.
His interest in creating cohesive communities through architecture led to the design of the Singapore Sports Hub, an integrated sports, leisure, entertainment and lifestyle hub. An iconic landmark that actively engages the country, the project made such a significant impact that it won multiple awards, including best sports building at the prestigious World Architecture Festival Awards in 2014, as well as Design Award at the 14th Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Awards.
Chee Huang also encourages public participation in the design processes of social and community spaces. An example is Our Tampines Hub, where he and his team not only engaged the stakeholders but also the Tampines community in developing Singapore’s first integrated community and lifestyle hub serving residents of the district. He revealed that the Hub was “a highly intense, enriching and meaningful community-centric project that required multiple discourses and deliberation, from meeting rooms and drawing boards, right down to the grounds in the Tampines heartlands and back.” The development won Silver in London Design Awards and Honorable Mention at Global Architecture & Design Awards (GADA) 2018.
A smaller scale yet just as socially significant project helmed by Chee Huang, is Goodlife! Makan. The elder care centre that brings together seniors living alone in a communal space to cook and eat with one another won the 2016 SIA Architectural Design Awards and Best Project under S$2 million.
Beyond high profile projects, Chee Huang champions several corporate social responsibility initiatives. A notable venture is Heartware Network’s new headquarters, a space designed to reflect the non-profit organisation’s mission of encouraging and empowering volunteerism in youths. The project explored how architecture can be used as a powerful tool to reach out to today’s youths, influencing the way they identify with place and space while nurturing values within them. Green and smart elements incorporated within the space also raised awareness of the global eco-conscious movement among the youths.
Featured by the URA in 2017 as one of the 20 under-45 rising architects, as well as Perspective 40 under-40 (Design Leaders – Architecture) in 2014, Chee Huang believes sustainable, green and inclusive design is vital to the future of architecture, especially in land-scarce Singapore. He also aims to elevate the local architectural profession, its competitiveness and ethics, as President of the Singapore Institute of Architects, through deepening sustainable design capabilities, enterprising spirit, innovation-based collaboration and education. To help foster this ethos of innovation and enterprise in the next generation of architects, he has served as an adjunct design tutor at the Department of Architecture, NUS since 2006.
He muses, “It is an exciting and challenging time for architects in this age of digital disruption, rapid urbanisation and increasing environmental changes. I hope that as part of the new energies of our fraternity, we will collectively drive Singapore architecture to new levels of design rigor and professionalism, to better lives of local and global communities.”