Top Engineer Delivers Eye-opening Singapore Conservation Address

November 15, 2019

"The reconstruction of a 100,000m2 high-rise structure emits 51,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to wiping out 10,000 hectares of forest (or 8.7 million trees) for one year, which is an area larger than all of Singapore’s nature reserves".

 

Leading structural engineer and Founding Director of Web Structures, Dr. Hossein Rezai delivered an inspiring presentation titled 'Buildings and Trees: An engineering Perspective' at the plenary session on day two of the mASEANa (modern ASEAN architecture) conference held at the URA Centre in Singapore. The conference, titled ‘Progressive Once More: Rejuvenating Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Southeast Asia’ brought together industry experts from across the globe to discuss innovative adaptive reuse of modernist buildings and how to tackle pressing global issues such as environmental sustainability and urban liveability.

 

In his address, Dr. Rezai explained that the challenges facing conservation in Singapore includes a shortfall of appropriate engineering competence and the emergence of new building codes that rendered old building codes “unsafe”. For the developer, it is often more straightforward and cost efficient to destroy and rebuild rather than repair and reuse.

 

Yet it has become impossible to ignore the repercussions of this modus operandi. Put in perspective by Dr Rezai, the reconstruction of a 100,000m2 high-rise structure emits 51,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to wiping out 10,000 hectares of forest (or 8.7 million trees) for one year, which is an area larger than all of Singapore’s nature reserves. “If the purpose of design is to address challenges facing humanity and the planet, which of these challenges are served by pulling reasonably robust buildings down?” he asked.

 

 

Photography by Feng Yikang

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