ABOUT THE DESIGNER
SUTD’s City Form Lab, in collaboration with the School of Architecture & Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), focuses on urban design, planning and architectural research. Andres leads the team to develop new software tools for researching city forms; use cutting-edge spatial analysis and statistics to investigate how urban infrastructure affects the social, environmental and economic quality of urban environments; and develop creative design and policy solutions for contemporary urban challenges.
By bringing together multidisciplinary urban research expertise and excellence in design, City Form Lab develops context-sensitive and timely insights about the role of urban form affecting the quality of life in 21st-century cities. Among its major partners are Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, Housing and Development Board, as well as the World Bank, ARUP and MIT.
Andres holds a PhD in Urban Design & Planning and a SMArchS in Architecture & Urbanism from MIT, among other tertiary qualifications. He joined SUTD in 2011 as a student before becoming a lecturer in architecture and urban studies, and planning. He has worked as an architect, urban designer, consultant and researcher in Europe, the United States and Singapore, and led a number of international research projects. He has also published articles and book chapters, and presented his work at various international events, including TEDx, the World Cities Summit and the Venice Architecture Biennale.
When implementing the Gridshell, the team’s approach was to work closely with the fabricators and contractors, even visiting the factories to meet and discuss the factory workflow with the technicians and machine operators. Assembling the Gridshell, Andres says, was basically like “putting together a huge three-dimensional puzzle”: the contractor had to follow single construction drawing, which depicted a numeric key to how the numbered pieces fit together. “As soon as the men on site learned the system, they moved rather fast to put the whole structure together. It was important to keep an open mind and to learn how the different professionals involved in construction do their job. That is a good starting point in trying something new together”, he says.
Asked how the President’s Design Award (PDA) has influenced Singapore’s design scene, Andres says, “Some awards celebrate work that is already well known and highly regarded. Others use the opportunity created by the award to draw attention to new ideas that may not be widely known yet. I think the latter approach, which seems quite characteristic to the PDA, is more interesting as it helps us discover new things every year”.
Advice to emerging designers:
“Nobody is good at everything, but everybody is good at something. Try to find out what that ‘something’ is and work hard to make the world a better place through it.”