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President's Design Award: Designs of the year

President's Design Award: Designs of the year: Men of vision

Award-winning architects Raymond Woo and Rene Tan and engineer Hossein Rezai are driven by their passion and beliefs

The highest design accolade in Singapore went to a design engineer and two architects at a ceremony at the Istana last night.

Winning the President's Design Award, which is in its 11th edition, were Dr Hossein Rezai of Web Structures, Mr Rene Tan of RT+Q Architects and Mr Raymond Woo of Raymond Woo & Associates Architects.

There were also 10 design projects that won in a second category called Design of the Year.

The Straits Times spotlights some of the winners.

The projects will be displayed at an exhibition of the President's Design Award 2016 winners at the National Design Centre in Middle Road.

The shows runs until Jan 6, after which it moves to the URA Centre in Maxwell Road and remains there from Jan 9 to 27. Admission is free.


Man behind Science Centre building


Architect Raymond Woo (above) created a spaceship-like design for the Science Centre Singapore to inspire students and encourage them to explore the building. PHOTO: ST FILE 

Although most Singaporeans would not know Raymond Woo the architect, many of them have probably been in a Raymond Woo building.

Schoolchildren would be familiar with the Science Centre Singapore in Jurong, while shoppers would know the Ngee Ann City development in Orchard Road and its iconic liver-red granite facade.


Architect Raymond Woo created a spaceship-like design for the Science Centre Singapore to inspire students and encourage them to explore the building. PHOTO: RAYMOND WOO ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS & MAX OOI

Mr Woo, 77, is part of a pioneer generation of Singapore architects who are responsible for several unflashy but dignified buildings that are mainstays in the Singapore skyline. These include Prudential Tower, Equity Plaza and 78 Shenton Way.

For his achievements, he receives the Designer of the Year award at this year's President's Design Award.

READ MORE HERE


Musical start for architect


RT+Q Architects' Rene Tan. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

While studying music at Yale University in the United States, Mr Rene Tan thought he would be a musician.

But in his second year there, his hands developed tendonitis and he could no longer play the piano as well as before.

Instead of dropping out of the course, he stuck with it and took on architecture as a second major, cramming both disciplines over a four-year period. Later, he would go on to do a master's in architecture at Princeton University, another prestigious Ivy League college.

Today, Mr Tan, 52, is well-known in Singapore as the co-founder of RT+Q Architects, a boutique firm that has made its name with highly conceptual, award-winning residential projects. He received the Designer of the Year award at this year's President's Design Award yesterday.

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Engineer wins Design of the Year award for first time


Teheran-born Dr Hossein Rezai. PHOTO: SPH

This year's Designer of the Year award has gone to an engineer, but one who works in the design field. Specifically, he helps architects turn their abstract plans into reality.

Dr Hossein Rezai, 60, is the Teheran-born founder and director of Web Structures, an international design engineering consultancy with an office in Singapore.

He has an intuitive understanding of design that leads architects to rope him in early in the process and trust him to propose new ways of building things.

This is unlike the traditional, more utilitarian role of an engineer, who is more often brought in later to ensure building codes are followed and the structure is sound.

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Medical devices among 10 winners


Winners: The portable ultrasound machine Vscan Access; the medical lancet Safeticet; and the National Design Centre. PHOTO: GE HEALTHCARE

Many people associate drawing blood with a painful prick to the finger, but contract manufacturer NSP Tech has come up with a product to make blood tests a little less unpleasant.

The invention is called Safeticet, a medical lancet that pricks the skin more gently than a regular needle.


Winners: The portable ultrasound machine Vscan Access; the medical lancet Safeticet; and the National Design Centre. PHOTO: AARON POCOCK

Safeticet is about 4.5cm long, about the size of a small USB flash drive. Users twist off the cap, press the open end on their finger and a short needle comes out to puncture the skin.

Because of a rotational trigger mechanism invented by NSP Tech, the needle automatically fires once there is a specific pressure level between the device and the skin surface.

READ MORE HERE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2016, with the headline 'Men of vision'. Print Edition | Subscribe