Innovative global architects discuss sustainable building, transformative use of space in the age of the pandemic

Luminaries in smart building, sustainable architecture, and net zero-energy development call in for ‘Exploring Efficient Design’ webinar

The latest instalment of the “Asia Real Estate Reboot” live webinar series wrapped up Thursday, 25 June 2020, with a healthy discussion on innovative design thinking in the context of climate change and the global pandemic. 

Around 300 viewers from more than 20 countries tuned in to hear Prof. Jason Pomeroy, founding principal of Pomeroy Studio and Pomeroy Academy; Wenhui Lim, partner of SPARK Architects; and Ron Bakker, founding partner of PLP Architecture speak at the “Exploring Efficient Design” webinar, simulcast via Zoom.

Moderated by Andrew Au, regional managing director, Asia-Pacific for Eight Inc., “Exploring Efficient Design” saw speakers call in from Singapore to Amsterdam to reflect on the most innovative examples of architecture and design against the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak.  

Stressing the notion that “balance is the new normal”, Pomeroy said: “It’s not hard to realise that with the pandemic era upon us, there is this sort of sense of needing to be moving away from the sense of convergence. If for so many years we have been converging into cities, now we’re needing a bit more space. What we need to think about now is the need to embrace the great outdoors.”

The speakers also examined the merits of using building materials like timber and plastic as alternatives to unsustainable ones like concrete and steel.

In addition to highlighting the “pandemic of plastic” caused by the otherwise vital surge of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as discarded takeaway food containers, Wenhui said: “What needs to be efficient from our perspective is the use of resources, especially finite ones. We are a big supporter of the ideas behind retro first, which is a campaign to prioritise retrofit over demolition. Rebuilding, of course, consumes more energy. Renovation, you could argue, is more efficient in terms of the use of resources.”

Along with Wenhui, Bakker was a proponent of using cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a viable material for erecting buildings. Speaking from Amsterdam, he also advocated for double and triple use of space and infrastructure in cities, in light of the rise of flexible work arrangements triggered by social distancing rules.

Bakker said: “People have actually understood the qualities of not having to go to the office every day and spending more time with their families. If you don’t commute three hours a day, you have three hours to read a book or play – it’s a real increase of life quality. I think we will figure out ways of bringing that into how we deal with office space. If people figure out how to do some of their work at home and some of the work in the office, it gives you the potential to reduce traffic and pollution, to make people happier, to make people healthier. All these things can be done in a very smart way. I think we will work out, in the next few years, the benefits from what we’ve learned.”

“Exploring Efficient Design” has been brought to you by PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit, the tech and thought leadership platform of PropertyGuru, Southeast Asia’s leading property technology company.

The session is another instalment of the “Asia Real Estate Reboot” webinar series, part of PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit’s ongoing efforts to provide post-pandemic insights and solutions for large-scale property investors, property developers, architects and designers.

PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit introduced its “Asia Real Estate Reboot” webinar series in April 2020, hosting its first live session in partnership with global design firm YOO Worldwide. It was joined by nearly 700 participants from 37 countries around the globe who listened in to a panel of industry experts based in Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and London.

Jules Kay, managing director, PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards and Events, said: “As the trusted platform for millions of property seekers across Asia, PropertyGuru is proud to offer expert guidance to property developers as they navigate the post-pandemic era in real estate. We want to help developers approach this new normal from a well-informed perspective, supported by advice from knowledgeable thought leaders in investment, finance, design and development. This webinar series will go a long way towards helping companies remain resilient after disruption.”

The annual PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2020, with a theme of “Spirit of Innovation” focused on green technology and sustainability, will take place at the Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok in Thailand on Thursday, 3 December 2020. Speaking, sponsorship and partnership opportunities are available for the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit series.

For more information, email [email protected] or visit the official website:

To see what you’ve missed, watch the replay of the webinar below: