SUTD students to design and build eco-friendly library in Bukit Panjang

Pilot project aims to get residents to recycle used books for the benefit of needy families

A group of engineering and architecture students will design a library and build it with cardboard and felt in the void deck of a block of flats in Bukit Panjang.

The pilot project, a collaboration between North West Community Development Council and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), aims to encourage residents to recycle used books and provide underprivileged families with more reading options.

The green library, set to be ready by the third quarter of next year, was announced at a virtual event yesterday to launch SUTD's sustainability plan, which will leverage technology and design thinking to build more sustainable community living spaces.

Professor Tai Lee Siang, director of SUTD's new design centre, DesignZ, said: "The whole idea is to encourage the community to bring their unused books to share as part of a sharing economy... As we learn to share, as we learn to recycle things that we don't use or that we hoard, we will learn to change our behaviour towards many other things."

SUTD president Chong Tow Chong said: "Changing behaviour is a long journey and that is why we have to start young, because it is the next generation that will have to shoulder the responsibility of dealing with the likes of climate change, global warming and the environment."

Prof Tai, who also heads SUTD's architecture and sustainable design programme, said the university will also co-curate programmes to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as food waste.

Under its sustainability plan, the university is also revamping the National Library Board's My Tree House, the world's first green library for children that was created in 2013 in partnership with City Developments Limited. It is located at the Central Public Library.

Prof Tai said the redesign includes moving the library to an area that has natural light and greenery.

This will help to reduce the use of electricity, and "the kids are likely to gravitate more towards an environment that is more playful, and is full of light", he added.

The revamp is expected to be completed in 2023.

Other sustainability projects include a long-term collaboration with SingHealth to create smart, low-carbon campuses at Changi General Hospital and the upcoming integrated general and community hospital campus in Bedok North.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2021, with the headline SUTD students to design and build eco-friendly library in Bukit Panjang. Subscribe