This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat‘s September symposium in Shanghai. The topic was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism,” and among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Mun Summ Wong of Singapore-based WOHA.
Last week, England-based architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre Architects was announced as the recipients of the 2013 Royal Institute of British Architects’ Lubertkin Prize for their recent international project Cooling Conservatories, Gardens By the Bay in Singapore. This is the second consecutive year the firm has been awarded the prestigious RIBA prize for best new international building. Last year, they won the title for the Guangzhou International Finance Centre in China.
Yale University is under fire from its own faculty for a new collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS). Pelli Clarke Pelli is designing the campus of what will be a four-year liberal arts college based in Singapore. A recent Reuters article reported that the project has “stirred sharp criticism from faculty and human-rights advocates who say it is impossible to build an elite college dedicated to free inquiry in an authoritarian nation with heavy restrictions on public speech and assembly.”
Degrees issued by the Singapore-based college, called Yale-NUS, won’t be Yale degrees and technically it’s not considered a Yale branch campus. Yet is Yale guilty of selling out its values—the school’s motto is lux et veritas, “light and truth”—to extend its brand? As Reuters reported, “Christopher Miller, a professor of French and African American studies, has dubbed the venture ‘Frankenyale.'” The faculty began to voice their objections last spring, but may have been too slow on the draw—the new campus is well under construction and set to open this summer.
Several large-scale, eco-friendly projects at the intersection of landscape, architecture, and urbanism were honored at this year’s World Architecture Festival (WAF) in Singapore. Building of the Year was awarded to London-based Wilkinson Eyre’s Gardens by the Bay (above), designed in collaboration with landscape architects Grant Associates in 2003 for a competition to develop a reclaimed 250-acre site adjacent to a marina in downtown Singapore. Among the other top honorees were AECOM’s Heart of Doha Masterplan, winning Future Project of the Year, and Atelier Dreiseitl’s Kallang River Bishan Park, which took Landscape Project of the Year.
In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.”
Singapore’s largest private property developer, the Far East Organisation, is the latest client of the Amsterdam-based architect UNStudio. The project in question is The Scotts Tower, a high-end residential building with the ambition to achieve “vertical city planning”–a concept perhaps inevitable in evermore crowded Asian cities. According to Ben van Berkel, UNStudio principal, the project is to “create neighborhoods in the sky; a vertical city where each zone has its own distinct identity.”