Research Clusters

An Asia Research Focus

The problem sets in our research-driven studios revolve around the key and strategic issues facing Asian countries. Anticipating new demands and new kind of cities that will emerge throughout Asia, the Department addresses critical issues in design explorations and planning solutions. They engage with the contemporary reality of borderless" economies and technological advancements. Asia's unique pressures to housed educate, and engage large populations provide NUS Architecture a set of design and research agendas formed by critical insights into uncharted territories of knowledge and experience. In this regard, the Department's research focus responds to these emergent conditions through its five core research areas:

  1. Design Technologies
  2. Research by Design
  3. History, Theory and Criticism
  4. Urban Studies
  5. Landscape
History Theory Criticism

The History Theory Criticism cluster develops critical capacities to examine questions of architectural production, representation and agency within historical and contemporary milieu. Taking architecture and urbanism in Asia as its primary focus, members work in interdisciplinary and transnational modes. We explore a range of topics relating to colonial/postcolonial and modern/postmodern Asian cities; aesthetics and technopolitics of tropical climate and the built environment; affective media including film, contemporary art and exhibitionary modes; heritage politics and emergent conservation practices. We develop discursive fronts through a variety of media and scales. The cluster research encompasses scholarly, creative and advocacy activities. Output includes monographs, edited volumes, research papers, architectural reviews in professional journals, curatorial practice, conservation work, film and photography, object-making, and policy-influencing advocacy work.


(Minor) indicates a secondary membership.

Research by Design

The Research by Design cluster performs translational research through the practices of making as research rather than through traditional forms academic research. It links the importance of creating, drawing, and building with rigor, originality, and significance to produce innovative and creative designs that shape the built environment.  Located strategically between the North-South axis of rapidly urbanizing Asia and the East -West line of the tropical equator, the Research by Design cluster performs research through practice in three main themes:
- novel aesthetics of climatic calibration and performance;
- contemporary architectonics of fabrication, material, and resources contingent on South East Asia
- emergent spaces of inhabitation and production surrounding the equator.


(Minor) indicates a secondary membership


The Technologies cluster investigates environmentally performative/sustainable building forms and systems, and generative-evaluative processes for designing liveable environments. Its research employs traditional and emerging technologies contributing to a new understanding of the human ecosystem, and emerging computational methods and techniques for discovering the relationships between form and performance. It researches on the relationship between human and natural landscapes, at every scale, from the building component scale to the urban scale. Special emphasis is placed on the context of high density Asian cities and the context of the Tropics.


(Minor) indicates a secondary membership


With a comprehensive understanding of the complexity and distinctive characters of emerging urbanism in Asia, the vision is to develop sustainable models and innovative urban strategies to cope with various environmental, social, economic and technological challenges that Asian cities face today and in the future. Emergent urban issues related to community & participation, conservation & regeneration, ageing & healthcare, built form, modelling & big data, and resilience & informality are investigated from multiple perspectives and inter- and transdisciplinary collaborations to question conventional norms and conceptions and establish new visions for a sustainable urban future.


(Minor) indicates a secondary membership

Landscape Studies

The Landscape Studies cluster undertakes research to generate new knowledge of landscapes as socio-ecological systems and promotes the use of knowledge in governance systems and landscape design that improve the well-being of humans and the ecological integrity of the environment. The geographic focus is primarily high-density urban regions in Asia, but members of cluster also work in the transitional zones within the rural-urban continuum, where urban regions are expanding at a rapid rate into rural landscapes. The overall research approach is both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary — we are concerned with not just advancing theoretical concepts and knowledge, but also applying the knowledge in practice and public policy to shape the environment. Our research areas cover a wide spectrum of socio-ecological dimensions of landscape, from landscape science, landscape management, to design research and socio-behavioural studies.


(Minor) indicates a secondary membership