a+u Architecture and Urbanism Magazine

Events Dense and Green Building Typologies: Architecture as Urban Ecosystem

4 Sep 2017 | Contemporary architecture and urban design practice in Singapore and beyond are increasingly integrated with green spaces in buildings, producing new typologies for high-density contexts that include public space, extensive sky terraces, sky bridges, vertical parks, roof gardens, and other ‘green’ components. Combinations of these, often applied to mixes of residential, civic and commercial programmes, conjoin at times to produce ‘vertical cities’, where the building becomes part of larger urban ecosystems such as parks, gardens and river networks.

In this context, the first Dense and Green Building Typologies Symposium themed ‘Architecture as Urban Ecosystem’ on 30 August 2017, was organized to address the seemingly contradictory, but in fact mutually dependent and synergistic notions of density and sustainability.

The symposium was conceived by the ‘Dense and Green Building Typologies’ research group at Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) at the Singapore-ETH Centre. The research group is led by Prof Dr. Thomas Schroepfer from SUTD, and Prof Dr. Sacha Menz from ETH Zurich. It is precisely the need to take a holistic approach in studying green buildings—considering the spectrum of design, economic, social, and ecological benefits—that inspired Prof Schroepfer and Prof Menz to bring together multiple stakeholders and their perspectives.

At the symposium hosted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), distinguished speakers representing government agencies, architects and landscape architects, and real estate sector converged on the topic of how dense and green building typologies can contribute to the urban ecosystem and to developing compact yet highly liveable cities.

Interestingly, speakers from different sectors pointed to one necessary ingredient in making the built environment more green and sustainable. Henry Steed of ICN Design International believes that a future green city can only be achieved when there is universal buy-in by stakeholders who embrace innovative and useful policies to stimulate new design thinking, combined with technology. Representatives from government agencies, industry, and the FCL, who had been working closely with various stakeholders, agree that dialogue and collaboration must continue and be further strengthened.