Head of sus­tain­able ur­ban so­lu­tions at Sur­bana Jurong CHANGING THE WAY WE BUILD

Singapore Tatler - - STYLE JEWELLERY -

What does a hip­ster’s han­ker­ing for cold-pressed juice have to do with cre­at­ing eco-friendly cities of the fu­ture? The way Tan Szue Hann sees it, the in­creas­ing trendi­ness of liv­ing green is just one in­di­ca­tion of the ris­ing aware­ness of sus­tain­abil­ity. “Go­ing green used to be more of an op­tion for build­ings and cities. Clients would go for green strate­gies if they had room in their bud­get, and very of­ten it was con­sid­ered a cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ef­fort,” he says. “Now, it has be­come much more of a back­bone phi­los­o­phy.” In Sin­ga­pore, leg­is­la­tion that re­quires all new build­ings to meet a min­i­mum en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity stan­dard has been in place since 2005, and proved in­stru­men­tal in driv­ing this change. Con­sumers have also be­come much more re­cep­tive to mak­ing sus­tain­able choices in their daily lives. “From a life­style per­spec­tive, it’s be­come cool to go or­ganic, for in­stance. Health and well­ness does tie in with sus­tain­able liv­ing,” Szue Hann reck­ons. “That doesn’t mean we start liv­ing in at­tap houses again, but we can be­come more con­sid­er­ate about what we con­sume and re­cy­cle. For ar­chi­tects, en­gi­neers and plan­ners, that means cre­at­ing de­vel­op­ments that con­sume less en­ergy, are more in­te­grated with nature, and adopt ma­te­ri­als that work in our trop­i­cal cli­mate.” Szue Hann’s in­ter­est in sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture be­gan when he worked on green projects such as Parkroyal on Pick­er­ing (when he was with Sin­ga­pore-based ar­chi­tec­ture firm Woha). Since 2015, he has helmed the sus­tain­able ur­ban so­lu­tions team at Sur­bana Jurong. The com­pany’s be­gin­nings are rooted in Sin­ga­pore’s hous­ing, ur­ban plan­ning and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, and it now of­fers pro­fes­sional con­sul­tancy ser­vices in in­fra­struc­ture, plan­ning, ar­chi­tec­tural and en­gi­neer­ing de­sign for clients world­wide. In his cur­rent role, Szue Hann has been able to col­lab­o­rate with peo­ple be­yond the dis­ci­pline of ar­chi­tec­ture who are equally pas­sion­ate about en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, such as en­gi­neers and bio­di­ver­sity ex­perts. “Ar­chi­tec­ture is part of a much larger ecosys­tem of build­ing and plan­ning,” he be­lieves. “The mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary nature of the team and the com­pany helps us to come up with in­te­grated so­lu­tions to­gether and im­pact lives in a much more sig­nif­i­cant way. This in­dus­try needs a more col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach, so that we can find new ways of solv­ing prob­lems, and fuse dif­fer­ent ideas and ex­per­tise as we de­sign build­ings, cities and en­vi­ron­ments. Ev­ery­one needs to step out of their own com­fort zones—and soon!” Since be­ing named Young Green Ar­chi­tect of the Year by the Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Author­ity (BCA) and Sin­ga­pore Green Build­ing Coun­cil in 2015, Szue Hann has be­come a World Cities Sum­mit Young Leader and cur­rently chairs the Ar­chi­tects’ Re­gional Coun­cil of Asia Youth Com­mit­tee. “Through th­ese global net­works, I have been given the op­por­tu­nity to share my vi­sion of a clean-en­ergy fu­ture. I have gained many ideas and in­sights on big­ger en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues, and th­ese ideas, when shared, can en­able the amaz­ing peo­ple whom I work with to achieve even more.” Closer to home, Szue Hann and his team de­signed the BCA Sky­lab, a ro­tat­able rooftop lab­o­ra­tory for new build­ing tech­nolo­gies, and crafted and in­sti­tuted sus­tain­abil­ity guide­lines for Sin­ga­pore de­vel­op­ers. They are also work­ing on turn­ing a ma­ture hous­ing es­tate into a cy­cling-en­abled town. Th­ese are all steps to­wards build­ing a more sus­tain­able Sin­ga­pore, and a more sus­tain­able world. Szue Hann dreams of a fu­ture where tech­nol­ogy has ad­vanced far enough to al­low all the things we use to be re­cy­clable, and cities of the fu­ture to boast re­duced de­pen­den­cies on non-re­new­able sources of en­ergy. Build­ings will be smart enough to reg­u­late tem­per­a­tures in­tu­itively and use as much nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion as pos­si­ble; cars could even be pow­ered en­tirely by so­lar en­ergy or hy­dro­gen fu­els. It is all within the realm of pos­si­bil­ity, if enough ground­work is done now. “We need peo­ple to start think­ing about cities as liv­ing ecosys­tems, that are dynamic, re­spon­sive and that can per­pet­u­ate. We need to start an­tic­i­pat­ing global prob­lems of the fu­ture, and pre-emp­tively de­sign so­lu­tions for them. This is the gen­er­a­tion that can re­ally come to­gether and try to ar­rest cli­mate change be­fore the planet be­comes un­ten­able for life.”

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