SINGAPORE – While visitors to the Future of Us pavilion often marvel at its glittering facade or the enthralling play of light and shadows under its roof, the architects behind it also had sustainability at the forefront of their design.

The pavilion, now known as the SG50 lattice, comprises 11, 000 unique aluminium panels with varying degrees of perforation to best suit the prevailing wind direction and sun path of its location in Gardens by the Bay.

As such, visitors feel up to 10 to 15 deg C cooler while walking under dappled sunlight that is reminiscent of lush tropical foliage, said Dr Thomas Schroepfer, 53, director of Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Advanced Architecture Lab.

“It is about creating a comfortable experience for an outdoor public space without relying on air-conditioning,” he said.

The pavilion, which opened in 2015, was one of the two Singapore winners at the International Architecture Award 2019. The Centre for Liveable Cities was involved in the conception, design and implementation of the pavilion. The other Singapore winner was the Sengkang Riverside Park Large Childcare Centre designed by Freight Architects.

The pavilion and childcare centre were chosen from a shortlist of 350 projects from 41 countries, according to a press release. They won under the “Exposition Centres” and “Community Centres” categories respectively. More than 120 awards were given out.

The annual award is organised by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, The European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and Metropolitan Arts Press to “provide a global overview of the current aesthetic direction”.

The Sengkang Riverside Park Large Childcare Centre features a green roof with several species of plants. PHOTO: DARREN SOH

Previous Singapore winners of the award include the ArtScience Museum and the Yale-National University of Singapore college campus.

The other Singapore winner this year was also lauded for its green features.

The Sengkang Riverside Park Large Childcare Centre, which opened last year, was designed to resemble a “rolling hill” that blends into the landscape, complete with a green roof on which 12 different plant species thrive.

The plants were selected together with the National Parks Board to complement local species and attract migratory birds in the area.

Mr Kee Jing Zhi, 41, director of Freight Architects, explained that the centre’s “living roof” not only provides visual relief for residents, but is also a heat barrier for the tall internal spaces, which improve natural ventilation.

By integrating the entire facility into the park and blurring the lines between outdoors and indoors, Freight Architects worked together with their client, School4Kidz, to create a richer learning environment, according to a write-up on the award’s website.