Net Zero Tower (NZT) is a collaboration with the Singapore University of Technology and Design which combines academic research, new technology and material innovation by reconsidering not only the materials but the entire hi-rise life-cycle.



NZT’s research has revealed that the technical complexity of current tools makes them inaccessible to many designers, especially in developing economies. Consideration of form, life-cycle, embodied energy and materials are thus difficult to include. Tools are needed which can include these parameters in the early decision-making process. NZT has also identified sustainability advantages offered by specific construction methods.



Capstone 2016 — Sustainable Facades

Research Team: Camiel Weijenberg, Chan Wei Jie, Law Kang Jie River, Lim Xin Wan Cheryl, Sia Chin Kiat, [Adivisers] Bige Tuncer, Thommen George

We explore the design development for a facade retrofit of the HDB public housing apartment buildings in Singapore. Identifying the sustainability of these buildings as a primary motivation, a discovery, analysis and evaluation of energy and water harvesting techniques was conducted. implementations. Analysis and evaluation of these strategies were carried out in a multi-stage process. The analysis and evaluation also took into consideration the needs and constraints imposed by the stakeholders of the project. The results of the discovery, analysis and evaluation processes show that the development of (i) solar energy harvesting, through solar electric generators (photovoltaic cells) and solar thermal collectors, and (ii) rainwater collection as the most effective solutions to improve sustainability of HDB residences.

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Capstone 2017 — Sustainable Timber Hi-rise

Research Team: Camiel Weijenberg, Yee Zheng Kang,Chantalle Goh, Kendrick Tay, Ng Qi Boon, Threvin Anand, Wang Zhaomin, [Adivisors] Bige Tuncer

We explore the potential for Mass Timber to be implemented as a construction medium for high-rise buildings, concluding with a proposal for an example of such a sustainable timber high-rise. First, we justify the use of Mass Timber as a structural medium for high-rise buildings through the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and subsequently an exploration into existing mass timber products with reference to timber building precedents. Second, we explore possible design strategies to pursue in the development of the project. In this, a rapid iterative design process was conducted, with integration into a digital workflow involving the integration of structural analysis tools and evolutionary solvers, culminating in a selection process based on both structural and LCA performance. Third we develop joinery details which occur at structural nodes in the design. Fourth, we investigate the properties of mass timber, especially within the local climatic context. The outcome of this research is the determination that the construction of a timber high-rise structure is both structurally viable and ecologically sustainable, though a number of challenges unique to the tropical Singaporean context remain to be further explored.

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Capstone 2018— Net Zero Generative Design

Research Team: Camiel Weijenberg, Yeo Peishan, Anjelica Ong, Chan Jia Hui, Chua Rui Xiang, Daniel Yong, Denise Lim, Ng Kang Raye, Patrick Khoo, [Adivisors] Bige Tuncer, Nagaravan Raghavan

We propose to design a high-rise timber structure that is structurally stable, environmentally sustainable and has good spatial quality. High rise timber buildings have a tendency of having overly large members, sacrificing the spatial quality for the sake of a structurally stable, environmentally friendly building. In contrast to similar projects worldwide, this project sets itself apart by taking a unique approach to achieve its goals – utilizing advances in timber composites with natural fibers, computational methods and generative design.

The generative design utilizes multi-variable optimization software Octopus and other Rhinoceros plug-ins. This approach allows for the quantification and optimization of set geometric parameters to achieve objectives such as structural stability, sustainability and spatial quality. The result of such an approach allowed the team to improve on the sustainability results of the Capstone 2017 by 42% . Finally, the project also successfully utilized a computational, iterative approach involving Python 3.0 and Autodesk Fusion360 to design timber joinery such that material usage is minimized while designing structurally stable joints.

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Using our findings over 3 years of cumulative research under the NZT project, we developing a scale mock-up of a typical Net-Zero Tower. This mock-up will showcase key innovations and solutions developed throughout the capstone project.

It will help in the more widespread adoption of timber as a green and clean material among architect and developers, while also promoting various sustainable design techniques, many of which will be available on our DBF platform.