With the rise of every new urban development, a slice of nature gets taken away. The degradation of our natural environment is often the price we pay for modernisation. As a sustainability enthusiast, you can’t help but wonder – is there a way for urbanisation to go hand-in-hand with preserving our natural world?
If you aspire to be a female innovator who seeks to balance progress with sustainability, you’ll find it possible at SUTD. From cities that use big data for more human-centric spaces to more liveable communities around the world, we believe that a large part of the betterment of the world is through sustainable architecture. That’s why our education combines the knowledge of Arts, Sciences, and Technology to better understand issues such as climate change and create future-facing solutions to address them.
When a building is more than a concrete slab
There is no denying that the world today is plagued with environmental issues that are the result of humanity’s quest for economic growth, development and modernisation. For Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD) alumna Natalie Ng, the shift towards being more environmentally sustainable starts with a simple action – taking a moment to evaluate our goals and understand their consequences.
“It gives us the chance to see how we can do things better, and to think more long term than short term, which inevitably will direct ideas to be greener and more sustainable,” says Natalie.
Architecture and Sustainable Design (ASD), Valedictorian of Class of 2021 (formerly from
Anglo-Chinese Junior College)
Current Master of Architecture Student and Architectural Intern at WOHA Architects
This ethos is evident in her student project, Taiyō Farm. More than just a standalone structure, it is a piece of architecture that integrates with its natural environment, connecting landscapes and promoting communal interaction.
During the design process, Natalie and her team also looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic had shaped the world. Taking into account the increased sense of isolation and therefore the increasing need for resilience and self-sustainability, Taiyō was created for self-sustenance, where members of the community are empowered to grow crops for sharing, and are brought closer together by daily activities like growing, harvesting, cooking and eating, all under one roof.
Returning nature to its previous state for the future
Natalie is staying true to her roots by pursuing a career in sustainable architecture. As an Architectural Intern at WOHA Architects, she develops projects that have a singular goal in mind – designing for sustainability and liveability. The firm’s architectural projects either provide a solution to an environmental issue or help the surroundings return to their former state, in order to promote more sociable and liveable conditions.
“I think that such a mindset is admirable and I believe that as more people are exposed to the same ideology, the built projects can respond better to their surroundings,” says the Valedictorian of Class of 2021.
In terms of how her background in sustainability from SUTD has impacted her, Natalie considers her time in school as an eye-opening experience, where she was introduced to the almost limitless possibilities that technology has opened up to design a greener world.
“It has shown me that the ideal future is not too far away – with the help of technology and the expertise from the relevant fields, sustainability can be attained,” says Natalie.
She found that SUTD had empowered her to leverage on her unique talents and collaborate with like-minded individuals to create sustainable designs. Moreover, they incorporated sustainability in everything they do, small or big. The enriching experience had a lasting influence in the way she currently approaches problems and imbued her with a drive to push for sustainable living in order to collectively reduce our impact on the environment.
Our rapidly changing world is in need of a rethink, especially if we’re to continue thriving amidst growing populations and expanding demand on an increasingly fragile natural world. At SUTD, we believe Design could be the answer to tomorrow’s environmental and societal challenges. With all the design skills that SUTD imbues in you, you will be the architect and urban designer of the future – one that will build more sustainable communities through the
power of design and technology.
If the thought of being an innovator in this field and building a better world excites you, find out more about ASD here.
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