NUS School of Design and Environment
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The SDE Bulletin

June 2014



News & Highlights

SDE receives Best Overseas Research Partner Award from Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corporation


School of Design and Environment (SDE) has clinched the Best Overseas Research Partner Award from Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corporation.

The prestigious accolade had been presented to SDE in efforts to recognize its fruitful collaborations and research projects carried out in partnership with SDE's Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities (CSAC) and the Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition series. 

CSAC undertakes research projects that break new boundaries in urban development, urban regeneration and spatial organization.

Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition was first launched on 1 January 2011, providing a platform for student from 10 universities from Asia, Europe and North America to research the various opportunities and challenges associated with high density and high capacity vertical cities in Asia, and formulate appropriate sustainable solutions.

"Design for Medicine" offers contributions to the medical field


The approach to Industrial Design (ID) should be driven in an aesthetically pleasing direction, but more importantly, the design should be functional and practical. SDE’s ID students embraced this philosophy as they embarked on the ‘Design for Medicine’ studio, with the aim of creating practical and beautifully crafted medical inventions for the betterment of society.

‘Design for Medicine’ is part of the B.A. (Industrial Design)’s Vertical Studio Programme, which teaches ID students to adopt a human-centered design approach in order to provide solutions to medical predicaments, and minimize tedious procedures. By putting their design thinking skills to good use, the students materialized their ideas in the form of functional prosthetic fingers, hand microsurgery stimulators, bronchoscopy stimulators and other medical tools.

Surgeons and doctors from NUS and Alexandra Hospital, who are the main collaborators, have responded positively towards the surgical instruments and physical stimulators created by the ID students through ‘Design for Medicine’, and hope that students can continue to make substantial contributions to the medical field through effective design thinking.

"Drinking Water in Urban Cities" promotes sustainability through Water Purification Systems

Rapid urbanization in developing cities may be beneficial in many ways, but it comes with its own issues. One such problem over the years is the lack of a safe and clean water supply.

To find solutions to this problem, the SDE Division of Industrial Design and Suntar Membrane Technology (Xiamen) Co. Ltd came together to launch the “Drinking Water in Urban Cities” initiative for ID students, to design a Water Purification System to provide safe and clean drinking water for populations in urban cities. Suntar shared its knowledge in nanofilration technology with ID students. Teams of students then identified the needs of the target users and generated inventive solutions to meet their needs. Eventually, the ID students successfully created 9 varies of new and useful Water Purification Systems targeted at these urban cities.

OEP 2014 gives back to Smile Village Childcare Centre in Phnom Penh

11 Architecture students embarked on an Overseas Enrichment Programme (OEP) to Phnom Penh in January 2014 to lend a helping hand to the children at Smile Village Childcare Centre. The Centre provides a safe environment for children living in dump sites to seek shelter.

Supervised by Dr. Tan Beng Kiang, these students put their architecture skills to good use by inventing nifty designs and prototype furniture, which can be easily constructed with recycled material or through up-cycling old and unwanted furniture. They then imparted the knowledge of furniture construction to the children of Smile Village, allowing them to cut cost by assembling furniture using the materials around them.

The students have planned to make a return trip to Phnom Penh to assist in constructing a playground and furniture.

Staff Achievements

Mr. Clement Zheng
Division of Industrial Design (DID)

Mr. Clement Zheng, Teaching Assistant in DID, has clinched the Grand Winner spot at the Furniture Design Award, Designers Category, on 13 March 2014.

Zheng's vivid imagination led him to create the prize-winning Torus Lamp, which flawlessly showcases both design sense and practicality. The lamp stood out from the competition due to its fully-customizable property, allowing for easy reproduction to meet demand.

The Torus Lamp possesses the flexibility of allowing its creator to customize the size and shape of its lampshade, through a computer algorithm that Zheng invented. This means that designers have the freedom to customize the lamp to suit various contexts and spaces. The production process is also simplified, with the use of common sheet material and light-industry fabrication methods like two-axis plotting and die-cutting. 

Essentially, Zheng has successfully invented a self-sufficient and fully-customizable business model, which allows for the timely production of Torus Lamps to meet demand.

Prof Deng Yongheng
Department of Real Estate

Prof Deng Yongheng has been elected as the 50th President of AREUEA (American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association). The appointment took place at the AREUEA-ASSA Annual Conference held in Philadelphia USA between 3 to 5 January 2014.

Prof Deng's appointment as AREUEA President is a notable achievement, as it enhances NUS' formidable global network, and further strengthens NUS' research capabilities in the area of real estate finance and economics in Asia.

Congratulations to the following for winning the NUS Annual Teaching Excellence Award AY2012/13.

Dr. Chang Jiat Hwee
Department of Architecture

Dr. Lilian Chee
Department of Architecture

Mr Cheng Fook Jam
Department of Real Estate

Prof Chew Yit Lin, Michael
Department of Building

Dr. Kua Harn Wei
Department of Building

Student Achievements

Kang Mo Koo, PhD
Department of Real Estate

Mr. Kang Mo Koo received the Best Graduate Student Research Award from the Asia Society and Urban Land Institute at the 2nd Pacific Cities Sustainability Initiative (PCSI) Forum in Manila, Philippines.

Mr. Kang’s research, entitled ‘Congestion Tax and Economic Externality in Real Estate Market’, was shared with a prestigious audience, consisting of city mayors and industry leaders from Philippines, New Zealand and other Asian-Pacific regions. universities like UCLA, USC, Georgetown and MIT.

Department of Architecture

As part of the Sumba Overseas Expedition Project, Architecture students embarked on a community-based project set out to rebuild an orphanage in Sumba Island, Indonesia in 2013.

With the spirit of community in their hearts, the students made use their architecture training to offer solutions to combat the fundamental issues that the orphanage faces. The result of working hand-in-hand with the local children was a seamless marriage of theoretical text book architecture skills with local construction practices, and a physical manifestation of the children’s’ imagination.

The Architecture students’ ingenuity and efforts at Sumba OEP 2013 were rewarded by the NUS Office of Student Affairs, and they were accorded the Student Achievement Awards PROJECTS (COMMUNITY SERVICE) 2014.

Dr. Yang Bin
Department of Building

Dr. Yang Bin has been selected as a Ralph G. Nevins Physiology and Human Environment awardee for 2014. Dr. Yang completed his PhD studies in NUS Department of Building.

This prize is only awarded once a year, to a distinguished young researcher who has proved himself worthy in terms of man's response to the environment. In the past, the esteemed award had been given to distinguished UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers in Building Science.

  • Mr. Ang Yu-Qian – Premier Award
  • Mr. Andrew Chin – Highly Commended Award
  • Ms. Joy Ong – Merit Award
  • Department of Building

3 NUS Projects and Facilities Management students had outdone their global counterparts to clinch the “Undergraduate Dissertation Award” at Chartered Institute of Building International (CIOB) Innovation and Research Awards 2013. The awards are given to research findings that raise performance levels, enhancing best practice and improving the quality of the built environment. It is also the only built environment awards that recognizes and promotes the achievements of individuals.

The Giving Spotlight

SDE Greater Good Series – Service Through Creating Real Asset and Transforming Environment

In April 2014, the SDE Greater Good Series organized a seminar entitled ‘Service Through Creating Real Asset and Transforming Environment’. At the seminar, experts discussed and dissected the evolution of the real estate industry over the last 45 years, from both a retrospective and prospective view point.

The seminar was chaired by Dr. Seek Ngee Huat, Advisor to the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation and Chairman of NUS Institute of Real Estate Studies. In attendance were Prof. Wang Shi, Chairman and Founder of China Vanke Co., Ltd., Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, Group General Manager of City Developments Limited, Ms Chong Siak Ching, CEO of National Art Gallery, Mr Michael Smith, Managing Director & Head of Asian Real Estate Investment Banking of Goldman Sachs, and Prof. Bernard Yeung, Dean of NUS Business School.

Prof. Wang Shi also gave a talk on the progression of green development in China. He shared Vanke’s strategies in green and sustainable buildings. Vanke is one of the largest developers in China, and Prof Wang Shi is the chairman.

The SDE Greater Good Series (GGS) forum presents an opportunity for leading to gather and discuss the design, development and management of the built environment.

It is made possible thanks to a generous gift from Newsman Realty Pte Ltd. It focuses on talks related to philanthropy, including generosity, giving and service to the community, as well as leadership, personal well-being and mental resilience. Ultimately, the series aims to raise awareness of philanthropy and its impact on society. 

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