Singapore – Part I

by David Epstein, January 17, 2011

posted by David Epstein, AIA, LEED AP
I was recently invited to visit the Singapore American School to speak with them about some upcoming work. So in December, after a working trip to ICS Addis in Ethiopia, I headed east thru Istanbul to Singapore. I was excited about traveling to southeast Asia, a place I had never been.
Singapore is not your typical country. It is really a city-state – a small island with 5 million inhabitants. It is very modern and clean. There is a large middle class and low unemployment.  People seem generally satisfied despite (or perhaps because of) the government’s tight control.
The school is impressive. Singapore American School has over 3800 students from Pre-K to Grades 12 on a very compact 20 acre site. I was hosted by William Scarborough, the Finance Director and Anthony Wong, Facilities Director.  Anthony took me on a morning tour of the facilities. The morning drop-off, fondly nicknamed the “bus ballet” was especially impressive, with over 120 full size buses arriving, dropping and departing within 20 minutes. The facility boasts multiple gyms, theaters, pools, gardens – all operated with Singaporian efficiency.
It was a great visit. It was interesting to learn about the sustainability initiatives underway both in Singapore and in the school. There is a local green building council and the school has a sustainability coordinator on staff to help lower their environmental impact. As you can imagine, on a facility this large, small incremental changes can go a long way.
Coming next… my visit to the Singapore Marina Bay Sands Hotel by Moshe Safdie.

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