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NUS School of Design and Environment

The SDE Bulletin

December 2015

News & Highlights

Nurturing Young Leaders for a Sustainable Future


The Ecosperity Young Leaders’ Dialogue 2015 brought together over 140 university students from Asia and the U.S., to nurture the next generation of green leaders and connect them with industry experts to discuss sustainable urban planning strategies.

The dialogue created a unique platform for the young minds to examine the question of sustainable development as it pertains to design, policy, finance, culture and society. Industry experts and thought leaders including Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of Centre for Liveable Cities Singapore, Dr Chris Luebkeman, Director for Global Foresight + Research + Innovation of Arup, and Mr Jordan Schwartz, Head of Global Infrastructure Facility for World Bank, were also invited as panel speakers to share their thoughts and insights.

Co-hosted by SDE and NUS’ Institute of Real Estate Studies and sponsored by Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, the Ecosperity Young Leaders’ Dialogue 2015 was held at SDE on 18 to 19 September.

The video highlights of the Ecosperity Young Leaders’ Dialogue 2015 can be viewed at the following links:

Distinguished Speakers
Who is Responsible for a Sustainable Planet?
Man over Nature in Urban Planning?
Urban Strategies for a Sustainable Tomorrow

SDE Industrial Designers Won International Accolade

From left to right: Raymond Hon, Audrey Chua, Sim Hao Jie
and Nigel Geh
“Rebound” designed by Audrey Chua, Sim Hao Jie and Nigel Geh

Students, recent graduates and staff from the Division of Industrial Design (DID) at SDE clinched the Gold, Bronze and Merit Awards for their innovative design in the Lite-On Award 2015, which attracted over 1,678 entries from all over the world.

“Rebound”, designed by third year student Audrey Chua, fourth year student Sim Hao Jie and Nigel Geh, Research Assistant & B.A. (ID) ’15, won the Gold Award. The winning design is an early rehabilitation bed exercise system made of elastic bands and tubes for patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The Bronze Award went to Research Assistant Raymond Hon, B.A. (ID) ’14, for his design “Sea burial+” which is a sea burial system comprised of an urn and a virtual columbarium. Nigel’s other design “SoundCARE”, an ambient monitoring system that aims to prevent detrimental psychological disorders caused by stressful ICU conditions, won the Merit Award.

Designing Resilience in Asia

Group photo of DRIA 2015 Guest-of-Honour Mr Choi Shing Kwok (middle), Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, was viewing the entries, accompanied by Dean Professor Heng Chye Kiang (right), and Associate Professor Wong Yunn Chii, Head, Department of Architecture

As evinced through recent events such as the earthquake in Nepal in April 2015, the issue of building resilient Asian communities is critical in light of the region’s environmental vulnerability, as well as the exponential growth of its cities. The inaugural Designing Resilience in Asia (DRIA) International Design Competition and Symposium was launched in June 2015, aiming to promote innovation and resilience in disaster recovery and engagement with society through design.

“We initiated the DRIA programme with the objective to encourage innovative responses to disaster situations through design. We also hope to inspire our students to re-think the role and social responsibilities of architects and stoke the flames of passion in them,” said Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean, SDE.

The two-day event gathered students from 10 universities in Asia, Europe, North America and Australasia. They presented design proposals focusing on the theme of catastrophic water based event for a site in Xinxing Harbour Village, Hainan Province, China. TU Darmstadt clinched the Overall Design Excellence award, while South China University of Technology and National Cheng Kung University won the Architectural Design Excellence award and Urban Design Excellence award respectively. The RMIT, TU Darmstadt and National Cheng Kung University teams received Honorable Mentions for their entries.

Organized by the Department of Architecture at SDE, the DRIA programme is supported by generous gifts from Stephen Riady Foundation and Newsman Realty Pte Ltd for a period of two years.

Vertical Cities Asia: Everyone Contributes

Presentation of token of appreciation to Guest-of-Honour
Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman (middle), then Minister of State,
Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Defense,
by Dean Professor Heng Chye Kiang (left) and Dr Feng Lun,
Chairman of World Future Foundation, at the award ceremony
in July 2015
Official opening of "Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition: Everyone Connects" exhibition and publication launch in July 2015, from left to right: Dr Feng Lun, Guest-of-Honour Mr Desmond Lee, then Minister of State, Ministry of National Development, and Dean Professor Heng Chye Kiang

Into its fifth year, the Vertical Cities Asia (VCA) International Design Competition and Symposium 2015 challenged 18 teams from 10 universities in Asia, Europe and the U. S. to provide holistic and integrated design solutions to house 100,000 people in a one square kilometre territory in Paya Lebar airbase site in Singapore. The theme for this year’s competition, "Everyone Contributes", focused on the idea of community to explore high density urban typologies for building sustainable and resilient communities and liveable environments.

The University of Pennsylvania was awarded the first prize, while teams from University of California, Berkeley and Tsinghua University took the second and third places respectively. Two Honorable Mentions were also presented to teams from NUS and ETH Zurich. In conjunction with the VCA 2015 event in July, the “Vertical Cities Asia International Design Competition: Everyone Connects” exhibition was held at the Urban Redevelopment Authority and a publication of the same title was launched officially.

The annual competition is organized by SDE and sponsored by World Future Foundation and Beijing Vantone Citylogic Investment Corporation since 1 January 2011.

Staff Achievements

SDE Design Pioneers Honored at Singapore Design Golden Jubilee Award

Group photo of Singapore Design Golden Jubilee Award
(Photo credit: DesignSingapore Council)
Associate Professor Tse Swee Ling (middle) received the award from Communications and Information Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (right), and Mr Robert Tomlin, Chairman, DesignSingapore Council (Photo credit: DesignSingapore Council)

Congratulations to the faculty, former faculty and alumni from SDE and its Department of Architecture who received the prestigious Singapore Design Golden Jubilee Award. Organised by the DesignSingapore Council, the award was presented to 70 of Singapore’s earliest designers and design educators to recognize their achievements and contributions to excellence and innovation, and for having shaped the progress and development of the Singapore design sector in the past 50 years.

Some of the award recipients were Associate Professor Tse Swee Ling who has nurtured and inspired architecture students since 1977, Adjunct Professor Liu Thai Ker who has helped shape the physical and social environment of Singapore for over 40 years, former faculty Mrs Chan Yew Lih who started her teaching career at NUS in 1982, and alumnus Mr Chan Sui Him, Chairman of DP Architects & M.A. (Urban Planning) ’74, who also chairs the School Advisory Committee of SDE.

For more information and full list of award recipients, please visit DesignSingapore Council’s website.

Green Building Accomplishments for SDE Faculty and Alumni

Assistant Professor Shah Kwok Wei (right) received the award from Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (Photo credit: Building and Construction Authority)

SDE faculty and alumni received the highly regarded BCA-SGBC Green Building Individual Awards, in recognition of their passion and contribution in greening the built environment at the Singapore Green Building Week opening ceremony in September 2015. It was jointly organised by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC).

Dr Shah Kwok Wei, Assistant Professor of the Department of Building, was named the Young Green Innovator of the Year. His research focuses on nanomaterials, building energy efficiency and green building technology. With vast knowledge and experience in green building research, Dr Shah is often invited to speak locally and internationally on nanotechnology and green building technology.

Architecture alumnus Mr Tan Szue Hann, Head (Sustainable Urban Solutions) & Principal Architect of Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd, M. Arch ’07 & B.A. Arch ’06, was awarded the Young Green Architect of the Year. Both Mr Wu Tzu Chiang, Director of DP Architects Pte Ltd, B. Arch ’85 & B.A. (Architectural Studies) ’82, and Mr Lau Kah Kee, Paul, General Manager (Projects) of Keppel Land Ltd, M. Sc. (Building Science) ’93, received the Green Building Individual Commendation Award.

Student Achievements

Industrial Design Innovations on Show in Dubai

Kevin Chiam (right) showing his design “Flex” to a visitor at
the Global Grad Show in Dubai
“Dex”, designed by Elyn Wu, on display at the Global Grad Show in Dubai

SDE industrial designers were flying the NUS flag high, with their creative design works exhibited at the inaugural Global Grad Show as part of Dubai Design Week. Held from 26 to 31 October at the Dubai Design District, the exhibition showcased 50 game-changing innovations from 10 international design schools and tertiary institutions.

“Flex”, a modernised walking cane for the elderly developed by third year student Kevin Chiam, was one of the inventions on display. It applies an elastic shoe design which “blossoms” upon contact with the ground for improved mobility.

Also featured in the Global Grad Show was “Dex”, which was designed by Elyn Wu, B. A. (ID) ’15, in collaboration with the National University Hospital. “Dex” is an integrated healthcare system in the form of a pair of smart insoles designed for diabetic patients. “ER+”, work by Alvin Tan, B. A. (ID) ’15, is an improved first aid bag with several compartments that makes emergency care more efficient.

Inspirational Journey to Antarctica

Prerna Shah (left) and Tan Chee Wee

Two students from the M. Sc. (Environmental Management) (MEM) programme, Prerna Shah and Tan Chee Wee, travelled more than 22,000 km for a 12-day journey in one of Earth’s great wilderness, the Antarctica, in March 2015. The students are believed to be the first from NUS to make this expedition.

Prerna and Chee Wee were among 81 participants from 26 countries who joined the 2041 International Antarctic Expedition. The name of the expedition is in itself a reminder that in 2041, the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty could potentially be modified or amended. These expeditions are part of a movement aimed at working towards the continuing protection of the Treaty to safeguard this pristine continent.

“Witnessing the effects of climate change first-hand was a poignant moment for me,” said Chee Wee. “I would like to thank GGEC for their sponsorship and SDE-MEM Programme for selecting me. This opportunity of a life-time is only possible with the generosity and commitment from both parties.” He received a sponsorship from Global Green Economic Consulting (GGEC) which supports at least one MEM student to participate in the Antarctic expedition each year.

Architecture Students Clinched Top 3 Prizes at JTC Retail Concept Ideas Competition

“Rainy Field” by Han Rui “Para-city” by David Ardiansyah

Undergraduate students from the Department of Architecture at SDE clinched the top three prizes at the Retail Concept Ideas Competition organized by JTC Corporation in October 2015. Envisioning the future possibility for a local retail start up scene in Singapore, the competition challenged architecture students to envisage a whole new exciting retail concept and redefine shopping experiences.

Han Rui, third year student, championed the competition with her winning proposal “Rainy Field”. Also in his third year, David Ardiansyah won the second prize. The team with three second year students, Holmberg Dennis Thanh, Ashley Lim Ruiqi and Yang Wei Chuan, took the third place.

The competition received 77 proposals and 10 shortlisted submissions were assessed by a design review panel comprising professionals from JTC, Singapore Institute of Architects, SPRING Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board as well as Urban Redevelopment Authority.

The Giving & Alumni Spotlight

BEMA Gift Establishes Scholarships at Building and Real Estate Departments

Professor Willie Tan (right), Head of Department of Building,
received the cheque from BEMA President Dr Teo Ho Pin
Professor Deng Yongheng (right), Head of Department of Real Estate, received the cheque from BEMA President Dr Teo Ho Pin

The Building and Estate Management Alumni (BEMA) raised $50,000 through its annual fundraising golf tournament, to support the establishment of scholarships at both the Department of Building (DOB) and Department of Real Estate (DRE). The gift is a powerful expression of the building and real estate industries’ collective commitment to the cause of education, and allows SDE and its departments to continue developing the caliber of individuals the future wants and deserves.

To commemorate the establishment of the scholarships, the gift was officially presented to DOB and DRE at BEMA’s Fundraising Golf Dinner and Prize Presentation Ceremony in June 2015. Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District and President of BEMA’s 22nd Executive Committee, presented the cheques to Heads of the two departments.

MEM Graduates Won Shell Best Dissertation Award

Fam Mei Ling (left) received the award from
Ms Caroline Loke representing Shell External Relations
Ng Chin Soon Lionel (left) received the award from Ms Caroline Loke representing Shell External Relations

Two graduates from the Class of 2015 of the M. Sc. (Environmental Management) (MEM) programme, Fam Mei Ling and Ng Chin Soon Lionel, won the Shell Best Dissertation Award for their accomplishments in the last academic year.

Mei Ling received the accolade for her dissertation "Status and Trends of Phytoremediation in Singapore”, which investigated ways in which land in Singapore can be rejuvenated or re-worked with biotic elements. Titled "Coral Reef Restoration in Singapore – Past, Present and Future”, Lionel’s dissertation assessed the reef restoration strategies used and evaluate their contribution to coral reef conservation in Singapore.

Thanks to a generous gift from the Shell Group of Companies in Singapore in support of nurturing environmental leadership, the Shell Best Dissertation Award recognizes one student from the graduating cohort of the MEM programme every year. There were two winners this year as their dissertations were equally exceptionally outstanding.

SDE Championed Commencement Class Giving

Professor Florence Ling, Vice Dean (Admin & Finance) (middle) with SDE Commencement Class Giving Champions, from left to right: Chong Qi Hui, Nicholas Lim, Yeo Sin Lin and Foo Li Lian

“I was always under the impression that fundraising is a challenging task. However, we were pleasantly surprised that our peers were more than willing to contribute!” said Nicholas Lim, B.Sc. (Real Estate) ’15 and one of the SDE Commencement Class Giving Champions.

With the excellent work by the Class Champions and generous support from the Class of 2015, SDE won the Best Participation Award and Volunteer Excellence Award for the Faculty between 400 and 1,000 graduating students in the Commencement Class Giving 2015. They have demonstrated an admirable spirit of giving to continue the NUS giving tradition, and support juniors in SDE who are in need.

Every year since 2007, the Class Champions from the graduating cohort play an important role in the university-wide Commencement Class Giving programme to raise funds from their peers to help future generations of students receive a holistic NUS education.

Please email to if you have any queries, comments or stories to share as we appreciate hearing from you.

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