Local Design Firm Sets its Sights on Singapore Skyline by camiel weijenberg

Photo credit: WEIJENBERG and Jeremy Hui

Photo credit: WEIJENBERG and Jeremy Hui

Award winning firm, WEIJENBERG, together with Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), are reimagining the Singapore skyline with a tower made entirely of timber (a low-carbon alternative to steel or concrete high-rise construction). Following 2016’s announcement by the Singapore Government to install 5,500 HDB blocks with solar panels by 2020, WEIJENBERG takes one step further towards a greener Singapore of the future to meet the city state’s ‘Sustainable City 2030 Agenda’.

The proposed design is a conceptual tower in the Central Business District, creating a sustainable, energy efficient building, However, it is a methodology that can be applied residentially, addressing the demand for high-rise housing across Asia.

An advantage of towers is their ability to accommodate high urban densities, maximise built-up areas with views, natural light and ventilation while creating energy savings through shared facilities, improved amenities, viability of better public transport and reduced car dependence. In newly-developing areas, building dense makes it feasible for city investment to extend transport networks and public amenities, in turn avoiding urban sprawl, creating economic opportunity and raising the standard of living for inhabitants.

An excellent sustainable alternative to concrete or steel, engineered timber requires a different structural design approach for high-rise buildings. Pushing the boundaries of wooden tower design, WEIJENBERG and SUTD researched the possibility of an 80-storey tower using digital simulation to vigorously test building structures resulting in a 4-layer nested tube system, with beams spanning to the central core. In addition to the tube structure, lateral members and chevron bracing help to stabilise the structure. Joints between members were carefully designed for load transfer with minimal material consumption taking inspiration from traditional wood working joinery. The joinery enables off-site production and is quick to assemble on site to speed up construction time.

As Asian cities expand at an unprecedented rate with the UN forecasting southeast-Asian mass urban immigration so rapid that Indonesia's urban population will reach 82% of its total population by 2050, Asian cities need speedy and sustainable high-rise construction technologies more than ever. Current ecological problems such as overcrowding, traffic congestion, heat islands and urban sprawl highlight the urgency for sustainable, and resilient urban development solutions that support mix use and diversity, while improving the environmental quality and quality of life within densifying urban environments.

Camiel Weijenberg, Founder and Director comments: “At WEIJENBERG, we aim to contribute to the sustainable architecture movement and promote this to the wider community. By integrating this prototype tower in an urban context, where each tower not only consumes less net energy as an individual unit, but optimizes neighbouring buildings in its vicinity, this generates a synergy which has considered multiple aspects such as location, built environment, climate and sociocultural context. A sustainable neighbourhood must not only be environmentally sustainable, but also socially and economically viable, creating a space where people can enjoy everyday life.” 

WEIJENBERG Wins Award for Municipality of Budapest International Contest by camiel weijenberg

Transulent thermal roofpanels allow daylight inside and for the velodrome to glow in the night time

Transulent thermal roofpanels allow daylight inside and for the velodrome to glow in the night time

Building on Hungary’s medal haul at the 2016 summer Olympics, the Hungarian government is investing in a large-scale programme to transform the ageing and disused areas of the capital into state-of-the-art hubs for athletics.

In May 2017, The Municipality of Budapest opened an international contest to design a €24 million velodrome overlooking Óbuda island. The brief was to transform a disused former gas works into a 5,000-capacity cycling stadium, national training facility and internationally recognised centre for excellence.

Among two other prestigious firms, WEIJENBERG was bestowed a special award where elements of its velodrome design will be integrated into the cycling stadium.

The canopy covers the elliptical shape as the foliage covers the forest, providing shade yet letting the light pass through. The velodrome has been landscaped to adapt to the environment. Its structure generates dynamic relaxation with a triangle structure that optimizes the shape and reduces structure cost while creating the optimal surface for solar panels

The canopy covers the elliptical shape as the foliage covers the forest, providing shade yet letting the light pass through. The velodrome has been landscaped to adapt to the environment. Its structure generates dynamic relaxation with a triangle structure that optimizes the shape and reduces structure cost while creating the optimal surface for solar panels

Judges commented that WEIJENBERG’s submission was the only design to break the norm of an articulated elliptical shape, changing the mass of the velodrome and orientation to better fit in the site’s environment. The landscape design and outdoor functions planned around the building, such as an amateur BMX track and public areas for visitors to enjoy active free time, were highly commended as well as access and integration with the city’s transport network. Sustainable solutions incorporated into the final design were also noted.

An amateur BMX track encourages visitors to enjoy active free time creating an athletic hub for the public

An amateur BMX track encourages visitors to enjoy active free time creating an athletic hub for the public

WEIJENBERG Talks "Crafting the Traditional through Design and Dialogue" at the Asia Designer Platform by camiel weijenberg

Crafting the Traditional through Design and Dialogue

Camiel Weijenberg joined Annie Ivanova, Australian International Arts Curator, and Tim Chou from Akuma Design at the Asia Design Platform Design Tour in Bangkok this month. Dedicated to promoting the global design exchange, the association aims to provide a platform for emerging designers in Asia.               

Speaking about "Crafting the Traditional Through Design and Dialogue" Camiel challenged the audience to observe lateral dialogues designers apply to their work in order to create architecture that enhances the environment in which we live in. As a team of architects, designers and researchers who specialize in the application of urban design through cultural and contextual analysis, WEIJENBERG is uncompromising about this dialogue, imprinting its own distinctive brand on each of the firm's projects.

Conversations can occur between client and architect, between the landscape and site. Dialogue can speak through the traditional materials used and how these materials are sculpted using local methods or the latest technology, so that ultimately,  all conversations chime together to tell one unifying story about a design.

Sri Lanka Boutique

Projects such as WEIJENBERG’s Sri Lanka Boutique Resort explore the relationship between nature and architecture. Situated in the remotest reach of the Sri Lankan peninsula, the landscape, wind and the sun’s direction were investigated first as well as existing construction methodologies found in Sri Lanka. This resulted in a curvature shaped building angled towards the bay so that the prevailing wind would create a passively cooled building as well as an orientation towards the bay’s views. A series of long lines organise the natural landscape, and by continuing these lines into the main building and carefully situated clusters of villas, there is an integral relationship between  human space and the landscape. 

Sri Lanka Boutique

The landscape itself provided inspiration for the choice of building materials.  WEIJENBERG wanted to weave in human made structures to appear as if a part of the peninsula. This resulted in the choice of rammed earth as the main building material, as the cliffs, boulders and soil of the peninsula display beautiful red-brown hues of colour. Furthermore, this soil in different forms has been used as a traditional building material in Sri Lanka for hundreds of years.

The firm's interpretation of crafting the traditional for this particular site was one that embodies Sri Lankan tradition and is linked inextricably to nature. The result is a dialogue between the land and design that combines architectural appeal with functionality.

Sri Lanka Boutique

Camiel Weijenberg Wins Perspective’s 40 Under 40 Architecture Award by camiel weijenberg

Camiel Weijenberg collects his 40 Under 40 Award at last night's ceremony in Hong Kong

Camiel Weijenberg collects his 40 Under 40 Award at last night's ceremony in Hong Kong

Camiel Weijenberg, Founder of internationally award winning firm WEIJENBERG, was bestowed Perspective’s 40 under 40 Accolade at an award ceremony in Hong Kong last night. The 11th iteration of the Awards saw 40 creative stars in Asia under the age of 40 recognised from the fields of architecture, art, interior design and product design, believed to shape the design world in decades to come.

Camiel was commended for his contribution to architecture entering projects such as conceptual green building of the future – Chicago Towers, international landmarks – the Art Interchange in the Gold Coast and Busan Tower, as well as eco residential projects – the Sri Lankan Boutique Resort and Eco Bungalow in Singapore.

Each design infuses the firm’s signature aesthetic ‘Crafting the Traditional’ which combines cutting edge technology with traditional methods and materials. Designs are fueled by a passion to create inventive spatial experiences and to find form beyond constructive logic.

Celebrating Asia’s young design leaders, the 40 Under 40 practitioners are based and work primarily in the region as Asia continues to cement a name for itself for prodigious design and creative flair. Winners were chosen by Perspective’s editorial team, with selections based on the nominee’s professional achievements, contributions to the industry, potential for future development and growth as well as excelling in creativity, artistry and innovation.

Camiel Weijenberg commented, “2017 has been a year of moments. It is the year I got married, am expecting my first child and have been recognized by Perspective’s 40 Under 40, just before my 40th Birthday as well!

Importantly this Award recognizes what is yet to come. At WEIJENBERG we will continue to challenge the norm and view the world differently through research and experimentation. We will continue to envision ideas which reflect strong themes of sustainability, utilizing new materials and revolutionary technologies to improve the world in which we live, provide a better life for city-dwellers and create the unique.”

For more information about Perspective’s 40 Under 40, go to:


Brelades Bungalow Pavilions by camiel weijenberg

Brelades Pavilion

The Brelades Bungalow is situated on the highest peak in Penang in Malaysia with beautiful views over Georgetown and its surrounding forest.  An original heritage house, WEIJENBERG has conceptualized a new extension and renovation with added functionality bringing the building into the 21st century.

The original bungalow was built in 1927 in the style of Eastern and Western ele­ments. It had adopted characteristics from Malay architectural traditions combined with Colonial architectural style tem­pered by Chinese manners. The character of the building is introvert and private, closing out nature and the sun.

Our idea was to take an opposite approach – to turn the building from inside out. We wanted to generate contrasting structures which have an unexpected dialog with the existing bungalow, which lead to the creation of an exposed and non-structural exterior opposing a closed and load bearing interior. Using this approach we created pavilions connected with the surrounding rainforest allowing for breathtaking, column free views of the surrounding lush greenery. In response to the brief three separate pavilions were designed – a reception for guests, a pavilion for family and one for the poolside and relaxation.

Each pavilion has an internal loadbearing concrete core, which smoothly grows over to a cantilevered roof structure. The thickness of the suspended concrete roof structure varies regarding to the structural requirements, growing from thin roof edges to a bump above the core. The external layers of the pavilions are made up of thin glass walls and sliding doors.

Each is cleverly composed of architectural structures beyond the limitations of constructive logic all from the same family, but with different characteristics according to needs.


Sustainable Towers of the Future by camiel weijenberg


Singapore University of Technology and Design’s (SUTD) Capstone 2017 recently awarded three research grants to WEIJENBERG. The first project looks at Sustainable High-rise Structures and intelligent design to increase comfort and reduce building infrastructure. The research is supported by additional projects. The first focuses on developing innovative building material components that reduce environmental impact. The second looks at home storage and furniture solutions which optimize spaces available, important for those staying in urban, small conditions. 

As the government of Singapore recently announced its long term sustainable urban development initiative “Singapore Sustainable City 2030” agenda, this has resulted in a growing market for energy-efficient buildings and innovative materials.

Through our research, we will look into sustainable, next-generation high-rise buildings. Research will be developed collaboratively between designers at WEIJENBERG and university students at SUTD, to create real building product prototypes. The research and final outcome will be showcased by the university and exposed to the building market through conferences and media late 2017, with the aim of challenging how high-rise buildings are constructed in tropical Asian environments in the future.


WEIJENBERG can confirm its newest contract for the interior HQ of a Nasdaq listed company. Designing an eight story building, the firm will focus on traditional Chinese wood carvings and the use of digital dynamic systems simulating wind. Studying flow and movement inside the building, WEIJENBERG will look to create the next generation office typology that embraces the latest technologies with a link to its past through the use of wood and metal. The diverse office layout will create an environment for the young and old, stimulating a synergy between experience and fresh ideas.

WEIJENBERG BIM lecture at Singapore Institute of Architects; Recognised as first firm in Singapore to use Graphisoft BIM cloud by camiel weijenberg

Last month WEIJENBERG spoke authoritatively at the Singapore Institute of Architects at the Integrated BIM Masterclass Series, sharing the core principles of BIM in relation to people, process and technology. Camiel Weijenberg delivered a lecture on working method and work flow of BIM programmes Rhino GH and Archichad. Technology which has been used to create the firm’s iconic restaurant, RAW, as well as the recent BIM winning design, The Chicago Towers. Currently, the firm has been working on Solar Tower parametric design with Diva and Honeybee software with environmental analyzers.

At the same time, Weijenberg has been recognised as the first office in Singapore to use Graphisoft  BIM cloud, which allows firms to work effectively with other design and engineer companies around the world.  BIM cloud is a solution for international companies who collaborate with other firms or within their own company around the world as a virtual team working on the same project. This eliminates the need for expensive travel and time wasted to mix and match different files. All that is needed to be done is to log in as a team member to a commonly shared Archicad file and work simultaneously with other team members regardless of their location. Weijenberg tested out their first BIM cloud team project with Liu and Wo Architects in Singapore. Five team members from two offices have been concurrently working on a bungalow with the sharing of ideas speeding up the workflow and  improving communication. Based on this pilot project, the Weijenberg team is looking towards the future to invite other offices to collaborate within their BIM cloud.