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Supervisor: Dr Ronita Bardhan

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Research overview:

Even in present architecture, the age-old theoretical argument of form and function is hard to avoid. ‘Form’ often supersedes ‘function’ to enhance marketability in architectural design. ‘Form’ is closely linked to subjectivity based on producer-outset bias, while ‘function’ looks more objectively towards the user-end needs of the designed product. Unfortunately, this oversight of the producer-user design hierarchy in high-rise housing is evident in Singapore. The design preference in a building’s form to its functionality is apparent in existing social housings that adopt architectural styles unsuitable for warm and humid climates. Therefore, the functional solar needs of the occupants are often not well considered when prioritizing aesthetics, such as the abundant use of façade glass as opposed to heat-preventive materials.

This research uses thermal and imaging information to disentangle the designer’s aesthetic subjectivity to the occupants’ objective solar needs in building façades of Singapore’s social housings. The research hypothesizes that the occupant’s actual solar needs are significantly unrealized when prioritizing the façade’s aesthetic qualities. Therefore, this thesis leans positively towards the architectural theory of function rather than form and could reiterate that form should follow function in architectural façade designs of social housings in Singapore.



I-Dec is a designer and a doctoral candidate at the University of Cambridge in the Department of Architecture. He received his MArch from UC Berkeley and a BSc in Chemistry from NTU Singapore. His research focuses on integrating machine learning with architecture, and his interests in design rely on concepts driven by clarity in form and material.