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NUS School of Design and Environment

The SDE Bulletin

June 2015



News & Highlights

World's #6 and Asia's #1 in Architecture/Built Environment


In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject 2015, NUS School of Design and Environment has been named the world's #6 and Asia's best in Architecture/Built Environment. The School’s industrial design specialisation is ranked 38th globally, fourth in Asia and top in Singapore in Art & Design.

Architecture/Built Environment and Art & Design are among the six new subjects which QS added to the rankings in 2015, bringing the total of individual disciplines to 36. Believed to be the largest of its kind, the yearly subject rankings are based on surveys conducted on 85,062 academics and 41,910 employers, together with the analysis of 17.3 million research papers and more than 100 million citations.

See the 2015 QS World University Rankings by Subject - Architecture/Built Environment and Art & Design.

BIM Centre Aims to Transform Construction Outlook

A BIM-designed student project

The Centre of Excellence (COE) in Building Information Modeling (BIM) at SDE was launched in February 2015 with the objective to transform the way people design, deliver and manage built environments using BIM innovation and practice.

Building Information Modeling (BIM), a 3D modeling technology, allows building professionals to visualize and explore a building project virtually through an integrated process before it is even built. The intelligent model-based process shares one system of computer models, rather than separate sets of drawings, to design a building collaboratively. It has been adopted extensively worldwide and identified as a game-changing technology for the construction industry to reduce cost, increase work quality, improve safety and enhance the performance of facilities.

The BIM Centre is hosted by the Departments of Architecture and Building, and supported by BIM researchers from the NUS Faculty of Engineering. It will focus on industry collaborations such as applied research and test-bedding, high impact research in BIM integration and best practices, education of students and skills upgrading of professionals, and international collaborations with leading BIM research centres.

Works of SDE Industrial Designers on Show in Milan

“Pour” by Assistant Professor Hans Tan, B.A. (ID) '05 “Quasi Equilibrium” by Senior Design Engineer Yuta Nakayama

The works of 15 Singaporean designers including 3 faculty members, 3 students and 6 alumni from the SDE Division of Industrial Design (DID) were showcased at the Triennale di Milano at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan, Italy in April 2015. The design pieces were conceptualized based on the theme "The Alchemists", which challenges designers to create something precious from ordinary materials.

The project started as a workshop conducted by Patrick Chia, Founding Director of the Design Incubation Centre, and Milan-based Stefano Casciani in October 2014. Casciani is the Editor of Domus magazine, as well as a designer, curator and critical theorist.

Some of the works exhibited include:

  • “Pour” by Assistant Professor Hans Tan, B.A. (ID) '05, is a side table poured with resin and colour to form its multi-coloured table surface. Each colour is poured individually with precise control so it does not mix with the adjacent one, while creating a single seamless surface.
  • “MATr” series is designed by third year industrial design students Lee Si Min and Jolene Ng, led by Lecturer Donn Koh, B.A. (ID) '07. Laser sintering in 3D printing allows the creation of fantastical forms, but the limitations of the technique often leave objects to be fragile. “MATr” redefines the support structures that make these objects possible as separate designed objects, which give rise to the manufacturing of objects within other objects.
  • “Quasi Equilibrium” by Senior Design Engineer Yuta Nakayama, is a responsive aroma diffuser that reacts by a sensor to the movement around it. The tectonic concrete base supplies heat to the aromatic oil on its curved top, releasing aromatic vapours into the air through the red, green and blue neon colour aroma diffuser.

Staff Achievements

Architecture Faculty Member Named Wheelwright Prize Winner

Assistant Professor Erik L’Heureux

Assistant Professor Erik L’Heureux from the Department of Architecture was awarded the Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2015 Wheelwright Prize, for his proposal “Hot and Wet: The Equatorial City and the Architectures of Atmosphere”. Among nearly 200 entries from 51 countries submitted, L’Heureux outdid the others and won the USD100,000 travelling fellowship aimed at fostering investigative approaches to contemporary design.

L’Heureux’s winning proposal focuses on the architecture of five dense cities in the equatorial zone — Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Pondicherry, India; Lagos, Nigeria; and São Paulo, Brazil — where he will examine traditional and modern building strategies that mediate extreme climate conditions while addressing the mounting pressures of rapid urbanization and climate change. The Wheelwright Prize is a travel-based research grant that is awarded annually to early-career architects who have demonstrated exceptional design talent, produced work of scholarly and professional merit, and who show promise for continued creative work.

Student Achievements

Real Estate Students Ace International Contest

From left to right: Assistant Professor Masaki Mori, Wang Minyang, Colleen Yap Li Ling, Jocelyn Ng Wen Zhen, Yap Hon Sheng, Kevin, Mark Louis Yong Zhi Peng, Muhammad Noor Danial B N, and Associate Professor Robert Bridges from USC

The real estate student team defended its championship title at the 2015 University of Southern California (USC) Marshall International Real Estate Case Competition, clinching the top spot for the second year running. This is the fifth win by students from the SDE Department of Real Estate at the annual event organised by the USC Marshall Business School, reflecting the most number of victories by any university since the inaugural round in 2004.

Supervised by Assistant Professor Masaki Mori, the team made written and oral presentations with their recommendations to address a real-world real estate problem before a panel of judges from the real estate industry at the competition at USC campus in Los Angeles, California in April 2015. With sound analysis and months of groundwork, the team emerged as the overall victor, outshining other teams from universities such as the USC, New York University and Ohio State University.

The Giving & Alumni Spotlight

Building Alumnus Won IPMA Young Researcher Award

Dr. Ning Yan received the award from Dr. Beverly Pasian, Director of IPMA Research Award 2014

Dr. Ning Yan, Ph.D. Building ’14 and Associate Professor of Department of Construction and Real Estate at Southeast University, China, clinched the 2014 International Project Management Association (IPMA) Young Researcher Award for his PhD research “Boosting public construction project outcomes through relational transactions”. Supervised by Professor Florence Ling from the SDE Department of Building, the project investigated whether relational transactions led to better performance in public construction projects.

Dr. Ning presented his award-winning thesis to an international audience of researchers, experts, scholars and practitioners at the second IPMA Research Conference in Tianjin, China in December 2014. His research showed that public projects do benefit from relational transactions. Relational transactions would also give rise to better relationships, and good relationships further contribute to better project outcomes. Awarded to one winner every year, the IPMA Young Researcher Award recognizes excellence in project management research by a young researcher aged below 35 or with less than 10 years involvement in research.

International Accolade Rolls in for Innovative Healthcare Design by Industrial Design Alumnus

“Safe.Lync” by Kwek Wenshu, B.A. (ID) ‘14

Designed to enhance safety, interaction and experience of dialysis for pediatric kidney patients, “Safe.Lync” is an assuring peritoneal dialysis connection system to alleviate the fear and anxiety of fatal infections due to touch contamination. Kwek Wenshu, B.A. (ID) ‘14, the designer behind the thoughtful innovation was awarded with an iF Student Design Award in May 2015. The infection-free dialysis experience would empower pediatric patients with the freedom to build their lives around dialysis, not the other way round.

The iF Student Design Award is one of the world’s largest international competitions for young designers to honour the works of exceptional design talents. Judged by an international panel of 73 design experts, 100 designs were selected and awarded with the accolade among the 11,785 entries admitted from all over the world for evaluation in the 2015 edition.

SDE Greater Good Series Forum “Real Estate Price Indices – Which Way are They Heading in Singapore?”

From left to right: Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of SDE; Professor Daniel McMillen; Alan Cheong; Dr. Lee Nai Jia; Dr. Chua Yang Liang; Associate Professor Sing Tien Foo from Department of Real Estate

In March 2015, real estate experts gathered to deliberate and share their views on real estate price indices at the SDE Greater Good Series (GGS) Forum “Real Estate Price Indices – Which way are they heading in Singapore?”.

Professor Daniel McMillen, who holds joint faculty appointments in the Department of Economics, the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, gave a talk on “Real Estate Price Index Methodologies”. The insightful talk was followed by a panel session on “Are Real Estate Price Indices Reliable?”. The panelists included Professor McMillen, Alan Cheong from Savills Singapore, Dr. Chua Yang Liang from Jones Lang LaSalle and Dr. Lee Nai Jia from DTZ Singapore.

SDE GGS features talks by leading minds on topics related to design, development and management of the built environment, which will improve quality of life and lead to Greater Good for the society at large. It is made possible thanks to a generous gift from Newsman Realty Pte Ltd.

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

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