The LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction counts upon competent support, especially in the technical field, and has established a network with renowned universities on all continents that host symposiums, jury meetings and engage in promoting the LafargeHolcim Awards competition. The latest school to join the networks is the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The signing of the agreement between the Swiss-based Foundation and the NUS School of Design & Environment (SDE) represented by Puay-Peng Ho, Head of the Department of Architecture and Nirmal Kishnani, Associate Professor, coincided with the final construction phase of a zero-energy SDE building. Founded in 1905 as medical college, NUS is the largest university in Singapore today with 16 faculties and schools across three campus locations in the country; architecture has been part of the university’s curriculum since 1969.
With a floor area of more than 8,000 square meters on five stories, the zero-energy SDE demonstrates sustainability in construction beyond energy-efficient technologies. “Our emphasis was on the imperatives of learning and research as a creative and collaborative process”, explained Christopher Lee, principal of Serie Architects in Singapore who are responsible for the new landmark on the NUS campus. The concept of “floating boxes” enables natural ventilation wherever possible and makes the building function as a living laboratory exploring innovative ideas and pushing the boundaries of sustainable design. 1,200 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof generate more than the building’s demand of electrical energy. The building offers five different types of learning spaces, one of the most impressive is a 70-meter-long studio on the top floor that can be opened up to the elements, as well as adapting levels of daylight and ventilation to suit a varying conditions and activities.
The network of associated universities of the LafargeHolcim Foundation is led by its Academic Committee at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich/EPFL Lausanne) and includes the American University in Cairo, Egypt; the American University of Beirut, Lebanon; Ecole Supérieure d’Architecture de Casablanca, Morocco ; the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, USA; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA; Tongji University in Shanghai, China; Tsinghua University in Beijing, China; Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil; Universidad Iberoamericana (IBERO) in Mexico City; the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada; the University of Melbourne, Australia; and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.