“Like entering a forest”, inside Asia’s largest wooden structure building –

Singapore (CNN) Singapore has long referred to itself as the “Garden City”. The term “garden city” was coined in the 1960s by Singapore’s founding father and former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew.

In the decades that followed, Singapore embarked on a massive tree-planting program, with so-called “biophilic” plants growing on city walls and overflowing from skyscrapers. “Affinity” buildings were promoted.

Singapore’s latest paean to nature is a new six-storey building on the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) campus. The building housing the University’s Business School has an overall soft curve, a sun-drenched atrium (courtyard), an open-air study area set against a backdrop of lush greenery and tropical plants, and a descending elevator. Everything from handrails to benches, door frames, room dividers and even the bus stops near the building are made of wood.

Timber is also used for structural beams and columns. In fact, the building is made almost entirely of mass timber. Block Timber is a new generation of structural wood material made of multiple layers of wood bonded together with strong adhesives. Massive timber is pushing the boundaries of architecture.

Covering an area of ​​43,500 square meters, the building is currently the largest wooden structure building in Asia.

The project, named Gaia after the ancient Greek goddess of the earth, opened in May this year at a total construction cost of S$125 million (approximately 13.2 billion yen at today’s exchange rate).

The bare wood frame has no cladding or paint. This is to make full use of natural materials and give visitors the feeling of walking in the woods.

According to Toyo Ito, a famous Japanese architect who participated in the project, this is exactly the original intention of the design.

Shortly after Gaia’s inauguration, Ito gave an interview to CNN. Ito has always strived to depict the connection with nature, such as trees and water, and the feeling of being in nature in his designs. Mr Ito said his vision came true when people said it felt like walking into a forest.

Ito, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize known as the “Nobel Prize in Architecture” in 2013, co-designed Gaia with Singaporean design firm RSP. Gaia houses a 190-seat auditorium and numerous tiered classrooms, in addition to multiple research facilities, staff rooms and spacious study terraces.

Only the toilets, the ground floor and the external stairs are made of concrete (due to local regulations etc.), but the rest of the structure is made of spruce from Austria, Sweden and Finland. The timber is processed in Europe into panels and strong beams before being shipped to Singapore.

Nanyang Technological University Business School will be located in “Gaia”, covering an area of ​​43,500 square meters / Singapore Nanyang Technological University

global trend

The construction of large timber structures around the world has increased significantly in recent years. Some countries also allow the construction of wooden skyscrapers (increasers), and the 25-story wooden skyscraper “Ascent” in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the tallest skyscraper in the world at about 87 meters. High quality wooden construction.

Asian cities have been slower to embrace the wooden skyscraper construction trend than European and North American cities.

When Gaia was approved, building codes in Singapore required timber structures to be no taller than 24 meters, but this restriction has since been lifted. But architect Ito believes attitudes toward wooden skyscrapers are changing rapidly in Asia, with Singapore particularly quick to realize this.

According to Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the use of mass timber can reduce dust and noise on construction sites and speed up projects by 35%.

And, incredibly, proponents of wood construction claim that in the event of a fire, wood structures are safer than steel buildings and have a lower risk of catastrophic collapse (although all expert families disagree).

Proponents of mass wood point out that the material burns relatively slowly and predictably. Gaia’s designers also added a layer of wood called a “sacrificial ply” to the building’s beams. This layer will char in the event of a fire but protects the wood underneath.

But many of the benefits claimed by bulk wood are environmental.

About 40% of the world’s energy consumption comes from the construction, management and operation of buildings. In this regard, concrete and steel use a lot of energy during their production, which accounts for a large part of a building’s environmental footprint, while wood emits and absorbs CO2 throughout its life cycle.

Even when a tree is processed into large pieces of wood, the carbon dioxide it contains is sequestered (trapped) in the wood and never returned to the atmosphere. Studies have shown that one cubic meter of wood can store about one ton of carbon dioxide.

Wood is also a natural insulator, and in warmer climates like Singapore, wooden buildings retain less heat than concrete buildings, while in colder climates they lose less heat.

Gaia’s designers said they did not calculate the CO2 emissions saved during Gaia’s construction, but the CO2 emissions from Gaia’s management and operations can be compared with building concrete and steel structures, which was 2,500 tons less than last year, equivalent to Removing more than 550 vehicles from the road each year.

Singaporean authorities designate ‘Gaia’ as a ‘zero energy’ building / Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

passive cooling

It’s not just materials that save energy. For example, the exterior of the building has strategically placed cooling fins that keep the interior cool by creating shadows on the façade.

Since there is no artificial air conditioning system, the wind blowing is also noticeable.

Being fanless in a country less than 140km north of the equator is somewhat of a feat, but the Gaia’s cooling system relies on “passive cooling” rather than fans. This is a system that runs cold water through the coils to cool the air around the coils.

The well-ventilated Gaia Tower faces south and aligns with the prevailing wind direction in Singapore to promote natural ventilation.

Gaia has been designated a “zero energy” building by Singaporean authorities because it generates as much energy as it consumes (thanks to solar panels on the roof).

So far, only 16 buildings in Singapore have achieved zero energy consumption. Half of it is property owned by Nanyang Technological University, including the on-campus gymnasium designed by Mr Ito.

Generous terraces and sunny atriums abound / Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

In his speech at Gaia’s inauguration, Nanyang Technological University President Ho Teck Hua boasted that NTU’s campus is the greenest in Singapore.

Classes at the Gaia School of Business will begin in August, so it remains to be seen what business school students will think of the new building. However, there is growing evidence that the use of wood in construction has positive effects on the well-being of residents, such as reduced stress levels.

Ito, whose grandfather was a timber merchant, said his design philosophy is still based on the comfort people feel when designing buildings.

Ito always considers comfort when designing buildings. If a building is comfortable, people will stay in it or visit it every day. Mr. Ito said that he hopes to create buildings that give people the desire to live.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button