Nirmal Kishnani

Nirmal Kishnani

Dr Nirmal Kishnani is an Associate Professor at the School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. He is the force behind several platforms on sustainable design in Asia. FuturArc magazine, where he is editor-in-chief, is a bimonthly glimpse of Green in action. FuturArc Prize and Green Leadership Award, two competitions that he chairs, probe the future of design. Dr Kishnani’s early interest in the occupant-building interface led to position on how architecture affects human well-being. In 2002 he founded Asia’s first Green consulting unit where this goal was actualised through a biophilic approach in projects such as the retrofit of the Asian Development Bank (Manila) Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and Gardens by the Bay (Singapore). Since 2007 Dr Kishnani has sought to bridge education and practice. His book, Greening Asia, eschews checklists and instead asks what might be a vocabulary for sustainable design, one that is embedded in ecology and wellness His recent research traces the objectives and impact of two biophilic projects in Singapore. Dr Kishnani has sat on advisory panels in China, Singapore and Vietnam, targeting policy and design guidelines. In 2015 he was picked by a leading magazine as one of ‘50 most influential in Singapore design’.


Biophilic Design in Urban Architecture: The Oasia Hotel in Singapore

25 June, 2018

The Oasia Hotel Downtown, designed by Woha, a Singapore-based architectural firm, is one of the most stunning skyscrapers in Asia. There is, first, the signal-red mesh envelope, a splash of color unlike anything in its neighborhood, and then the surreptitious patches of green that seem to slowly envelop the building. Planted façades are not new…

Paramit Factory: A Case Study in Industrial Biophilic Design

15 May, 2018

The Paramit Factory by Design Unit Sdn. Bhd., Malaysia, challenges the industrial typology that is too often mired in questions of functionality and cost. John Bulcock, the principal architect, is best known for tropical houses, noteworthy for unfinished concrete walls and playful inventiveness with climate. Daylight, greenery and vistas were key considerations from the start.…

Singapore’s Khoo Teck Puat Hospital: Biophilic Design in Action

8 September, 2017

Singapore’s Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) might well be the most biophilic hospital in Asia. In no other healthcare institution of this scale are elements of form, space and landscape so explicitly tied to the goal of human well-being—the very definition of biophilic design. The KTPH competition brief, from the onset, asked that the new…

Biophilic Vietnam: A Perspective on Vo Trong Nghia Architects

8 August, 2016

Vo Trong Nghia Architects (VTNA) has grown up against the backdrop of a relentless tear-down-and-build in Vietnam that many have criticised as hasty and insensitive. The firm offers a perspective on green urbanism does yet not affect the planning of Vietnamese cities where there is instead evidence of a systematic stripping of blue-green cover and…

Are Green Buildings Biophilic? Why the Answer Matters, Particularly in Asia

5 February, 2016

The idea of ‘Green’ in Asia is dominated by certification tools. There are now some 14 national variants – not unlike LEED in the US – each offering tiered ratings at the building scale, some at the urban scale. The rating is determined by an aggregated score, the result of compliance with requirements that focus…