National University of Singapore’s SDE4 Building Is A Prototype Of Sustainable Design

Serie Architects and Multiply Architects have built a zero-energy design school in Singapore featuring breezy open-air learning spaces.

The School of Design & Environment 4 (SDE4) claims to be the first new-build, net-zero-energy building in Singapore. The architects described it as “a prototype of sustainable design” that combined its net-zero target with “a revalidated grammar of tropical architecture.”

SDE4 provides more than 1,500 square metres of design studio space, along with an open plaza, various public spaces, workshops, research centres, a cafe and a library.

The close relationship between the building and the surrounding nature is emphasised by the integration of outdoor spaces beneath the roof, which also shelters gardens and matures trees.

The gardens are a key part of SDE4’s ecological and pedagogical experience. The landscape helps to purify water runoff from the roof and hardscape, providing opportunities to learn about water management, while the introduction of native plants can be used as the basis for environmental education.

The building features a material palette of concrete, steel and glass, which are used in their raw state to emphasise the pursuit of biophilic design principles. The concrete in particular displays different finishes that give the surfaces a tactility and natural variation.

Other key features of SDE4’s commitment to net-zero energy consumption include the integration of more than 1,200 photovoltaic panels on its rooftop.