BE-150 Exploring and Reconnecting in Singapore

Singapore boasts one of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning’s most vibrant alumni communities. With over 350 members, any opportunity to get together for a celebration is a welcome one.

Professor Julie Willis, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning had the opportunity to attend the June 13 Singapore alumni gathering and meet with our graduates in person.

The gathering kicked off with an exclusive building tour of TwentyOne Angullia, a luxury apartment complex in the heart of Singapore. Alumnus Darren Yio was the Project Architect for the apartment complex, and generously facilitated and hosted the tour alongside fellow alumna Esther Lau.

Darren Yio and Julie Willis at TwentyOne AgulliaAlumnus Darren Yio explains the inspiration behind the design of TwentyOne Angullia to Prof Julie Willis.

First stop was a level 10 apartment complete with a detailed architectural model of the building. Here Darren explained how he had been inspired by building block games Jenga and Lego in the design input for TwentyOne Agullia, whilst iconic architect Le Corbusier’s interlocking system of residential volume was also an overall source of inspiration. This is most visibly reflected in the stacked-type aesthetics of the building structure.

Angullia Park Moving through the building up to the Skydeck revealed some outstanding views of the city and a lush oasis complete with greenery and swimming pool.An overall sunset effect was created by inserting individual lights into the outside trellis of the building, which glow and orange colour before turning to a midnight blue once night falls.

After the tour everyone made their way to the Goodwood Park Hotel for the official celebration.

Professor Julie Willis opened the event, explaining the significance of the year 2019 for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. This year marks the 150-year anniversary of built environment education at the University of Melbourne. To mark this milestone, the Faculty has developed a year-long program titled BE-150, as an opportunity to showcase the talent of our students, staff and alumni.

The two guest alumni speakers for the evening have each had a significant impact on the built environment.

Ruby Lai-Chuah, the evening’s first guest alumni speaker, obtained her Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and has since gone on to have a successful career in the Singapore Public Works Department. She is now a Senior Consultant in Architecture with CPG Corporation, a Singaporean group of companies which provides infrastructure and building development and management services.

Ruby Lai-Chuah has worked on a number of major healthcare facilities including the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, Singapore a 590-bed multi-award winning general and acute care hospital which opened 2010 and the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore’s second largest acute care general hospital with 1,400 beds, which opened in 1999. She is also a      member of the Council of the Society of Project Manager Singapore.

Julie Willis alongside guest speakers
Guest speakers Ruby Lai-Chuah & Catherine Loke alongside Prof Julie Willis & Dean of Architecture NUS, Prof Lam Khee Poh.

Catherine Loke was our final speaker for the evening. She completed both her Bachelor of Planning & Design and Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) from the University of Melbourne. Having previously worked at Tan See Kiat Chartered Architects, working as project architect for Philips’ new headquarters in Toa Payoh and Tuas Power Station, she has now established her own successful practice, Lander Loke Architects since 2001.

Both speakers illustrated the journey and transformation from a young student, travelling far from home to study in Australia, to an established, successful professional in the built environments.

Group shot SG

The positive impact and contribution to society that each of our speakers have had is exactly what the Faculty aspires to highlight and celebrate in the BE-150 program. Many of our alumni have similar stories of taking a leap of faith, and coming out of it with a successful, meaningful career, with many unforgettable experiences and lifelong friendships forged along the way.

To see our diverse group of Singaporean alumni come together – reconnecting or in some cases meeting for the first time - mingling and exchanging thoughts on the current and future state of our professions, was a perfect example of what BE–150 aims to achieve. The Faculty looks forward to returning to Singapore in the near future.