SDE Department of Architecture students clinch first prize at BCA-SIA-SGBC International Tropical Architecture Design Competition

12 September 2013

From left: Mr Quek See Tiat, Chairman of the Building and Construction Authority with Ng Pui Shan and Pham Huu Loc both from the SDE Department of Architecture.

A three-member team from the National University of Singapore and University of Melbourne has won the International Tropical Architecture Design Competition 2013 for Institutes of Higher Learning for its entry on “Mushroom Community Campus”. The competition, a co-located event of International Green Building Conference (IGBC) 2013, was opened to architecture students from institutes of higher learning around the world and focused on tropical green architecture and sustainable building design solutions.

The competition aims to nurture future architects and leaders in tropical green building designs and to promote awareness of the need for sustainable living in the region. A total of 19 teams from five countries including China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam submitted entries for this year’s competition, themed "Live, Study, Play – Our Green Campus". Five teams from Singapore and Australia (joint submission), India, Indonesia and Vietnam were shortlisted for the final judging, which was held on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 during the 2013 Singapore Green Building Week.

The winning entry, the “Mushroom Community Campus”, is a joint submission by Pham Huu Loc (Team Leader) and Ng Pui Shan from the SDE Department of Architecture’s Masters of Science in Integrated Sustainable Design programme. The students approached the design process through an active integration of architectural and engineering knowledge to formulate strategies and goals. They then examined what is important to tropical Asia, incorporating local knowledge and skills, alongside technology. Their design solution, the “Mushroom Community Campus” envisions a vocational education, training and research centre, specialising in environment, agriculture, forestry, education and sustainability management, in Sapa, Vietnam.

Based on a biophilic design concept of using fresh air, daylight and water features, the campus design utilises natural resources such as an innovative earth-air tunnel that helps to reduce the energy required for conditioning the air by using the thermal properties of the earth as heat exchanger. Other features such as photovoltaic panels, solar water heating and rainwater harvesting further enable the campus to be almost completely self-sustainable and reduce energy consumption net carbon dioxide emission by more than 70 percent. The resultant design was an integrated one which included inputs from more than one discipline, and showed a good match between design and site context, resulting in a unique form which interested the judges.