A big win at the International BIM Competition 2017

13 Sep 2017


Four student teams from the School of Architecture and The Built Environment (ABE) clinched the 1st, 2nd and 2 Merit prizes in the International BIM Competition organised by the Building Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore in July 2017.  There were 67 registered teams which participated in the competition this year, with 352 students from 9 countries including USA, Denmark, Italy, India, Iran, Poland, Singapore, Turkey and Sudan.  The ABE teams swept 4 out of the 9 prizes awarded by the organiser BCA.

The winning teams comprised of students from the Diploma in Architecture (DARCH), Diploma in Civil Engineering with Business (DCEB) and Diploma in Landscape Architecture (DLA).  The four winning teams are as follow:

1st Prize: “E.Ducational – a redefined learning environment” by team “Flickering Invictus”

1st Prize: “E.Ducational – a redefined learning environment” by team “Flickering Invictus”

The team was made up of year 2 and 3 students from DARCH, DLA and DCEB, where each of us had different roles to play to make our design successful. We were tasked to design an institution in the current BCA Academy and the main highlight was to use computational design and considerations for Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA). As we had never learnt such software before, the beginning was quite challenging but eventually our team managed to learn them and used it for our design - Dynamo and Naviswork. 

The key feature of our design was actually the facade as it was entirely designed through Dynamo by integrating various coding and scripts together, generated by our computational analysis in Revit. We also met the DfMA criteria by its structured and modular design where we use computational design and BIM to achieve one common size facade panel. Our team decided to try something more challenging, hence we attempted to create a kinetic facade which eventually was a bonus for us during the presentation, as the judging panel was impressed by our innovative facade design.

Other than designing through dynamo as our key feature, there were other parts in the design that also contributed to our design success, some of which were modular design through Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction, Naviswork structure integrity calculation, Naviswork construction sequence time lapse, structure cost calculation using BIM and various analysis in Revit. Each of us had different experience and knowledge with different skills of the software, which allowed us to strive even further when we cooperated with each other.

Overall, the design would not be successful if it had not been for our different contributions because each of us had a important role to play -  DARCH coming up with main design planning, DLA designing landscape and sustainable methods, and DCEB making sure our design was feasible and on task with the brief.

The software we learnt during this competition and the communication between the different diplomas had helped us prepare for the building and construction industry.

In conclusion, the competition was really an eye-opener experience for us because we had learnt a lot from each other in terms of the whole design process and stages.

Presentation Board 1
Presentation Board 2
Presentation Board 3
Presentation Board 4

2nd Prize: “CO-“ by team “CO-” 

In an era where information is so easily accessible, the once traditional uses for educational spaces need to be re-envisioned to match the ever-changing pace of how we work and communicate.

Our concept was CO-. CO- prefix: together, mutually, in common. We aimed to blur the boundaries between traditional typologies, weaving traditional programs with arteries of interconnected and collaborative breathing spaces, introducing informality to formality - inside of the classroom and out-of-classroom learning experiences, bringing nuances and activities beyond the confines of centralised spaces.

This was reflected in our design of the meeting rooms, with almost 50% of them converted into the proposed typology of collaborative co-spaces, which snaked up the building and our main ramp which provided a connection with the academic tower.

Fostering different interdisciplinary programs to stagger and overlook each other to visually embrace the other collaborative natures, as well as to cultivate the strong collective team-learning and understanding among different programs co-existing within the same level. Bridging the divide between disciplines through an interconnected network of spaces weaving alongside traditional programs, bringing a wealth of ideas beyond the confines of enclosed spaces. Informal spaces invite work spaces to remain flexible and discover this shared sphere of experience and common spirit. These spaces would ultimately serve as a platform for future educational needs and spaces.

Main Exterior Render 
Slope CO- Space Render
Atrium Render
Optimisation Graph 
Optimisation Analysis 

Merit Prize: “The Effloresce Plateau – Stepping In – Looking Out” by team “Dream Team”

To design a building that acts as a transition and connection between two buildings by creating voids of terracing.

The design was meant not to overwhelm the main academic tower, as it is seen as an icon in the BCA Academy. The height of the building was kept at 13 storeys high. The voids were meant to be green to relate back to the landscape at the central space. 

In the past, Bishan was a place of family gathering during the Qing Ming Festival. Likewise, it was idealistic to recreate this spirit by having students coming together to a space to communicate and learn from each other. The different spaces were evenly distributed throughout the building and the sky terrace for ‘gathering’. Double volume spaces helped to create visual interaction between ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ of building forms and spaces. 

Dynamo was used to create the modular ‘leaf’ facades. The idea of the leaf was to connect with the landscape and to break down the solidity of the building. The facade was determined by solar sensors where it would close when hit by direct sunlight, and open when not in direct contact with sunlight.

The idea was to have the entire building to be modular. The structural grids were modular which resulted in the modularity of the columns, slabs, walls, glass panels, facade panels.  This would greatly speed up the construction sequence and cut down of the cost of construction for the entire building

Birds Eye View  Vibrant Sky Impression
Social Study Space Impression  Office Breakout Space Impression
Outdoor Learning Terrace Impression  Open Breeze Garden Impression


Merit Prize: “The Modular Tower” by team “BIMbuddies”

Designing an Ever-Developing Learning Institution

The concept from the start was to use modular units to construct the two tower blocks. The intent was to create an institution block that would always fit the spatial needs and demands of BCA Academy. We wanted a project that would stand out, as well as satisfy an institution’s ever changing needs. Using Peter Cook’s Archigram as precedence, we went for a seemingly wild idea to have cranes always attached to the structural cores of the building. The cranes would allow the client to easily add on more modular units on top should the demands for classrooms/labs rise. It would also allow them to remove certain modules and replace them with different units to better suit the change in spatial requirement. 

The challenge of having our modular PPVC units however, was that it was difficult to construct large open spaces like a Multi-purpose hall or a large lecture theatre. These spaces were deemed as “longer life-span” as there would always be a need for them in the institution. Our solution was to have a 6-storey podium block below which is constructed using a mostly precast walls and slabs. This longer life-span podium block would house the larger spaces and it also gives the building a form of hierarchy. The modular blocks which house the smaller spaces like smaller laboratories and office space are then placed on top of the podium. The podium and modular towers are then divided by a sky terrace to create an open transition space.

Modular Tower was also designed with key considerations of structure and M&E services in mind. The various consultants worked together to produce a fully functioning Revit BIM model with all building services integrated into the project. The Dynamo software was also used to generate a parametric solar panelled facade that wraps around the podium block as well as to test the modular block optimisation.

The team believes that our driving concept of having interchangeable modular PPVC units is the future direction of the construction industry in Singapore. We understand that BIM and parametric software is the way forward for the industry but these programs should not be a hindrance to the design process. We often asked ourselves this question of “What can the BIM and parametric programs do for us” Instead of “What can we do for the programs”

Board 1
Board 2
Board 3
Board 4

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