The Surbana Jurong Campus, to be completed in 2021, is located at the Jurong Innovation District. It will serve to showcase what a sustainable, people-centric and future-ready workplace would look like.

Biophilic design: Harmonising nature and the built environment in Surbana Jurong Campus

26 Jul 2019


When Surbana Jurong announced its intention to build a new campus in Jurong, some expected it to be another typical office building, dominated by glass and concrete. Instead, the Surbana Jurong Campus harmonises – rather than dominates – the natural space around it.

Greenery moves through the building, rather than being stuck in the usual square plots outside of parking lots and entrances. The campus interior seamlessly blends interior green spaces with external ones, you would have to do a double take to realise you have moved in from the outdoors. This is the dominant theme of the 68,915 square metre development.

When Surbana Jurong conceived of the project in collaboration with Mr Moshe Safdie, it was as a development that integrated the structure with the natural landscape. It is an unconventional design move that matches the facility’s intent: a part of the Jurong Innovation District that can accommodate 4,000 employees, and build knowledge sharing between the numerous cutting-edge start-ups, institutions, and companies in the area.

By the time the development is complete in 2021, Surbana Jurong Campus will service future technology enablers, driving the adoption of smart technologies and solutions. Many such technologies played a role in the development itself, such as:

  • Use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) to keep stakeholders connected
  • Use of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) in its construction
  • A Super Low Energy (SLE) design for sustainability
  • An emphasis on biophilic design principles
bim-allows-designers-to-identify-complications-even-before-constructions-begins-thus-saving-on-potential-future-costsBIM allows designers to identify complications even before construction begins, thus saving on potential future costs.

1. Use of Building Information Modelling (BIM)

BIM allows building performance to be gauged via computer simulations. Through BIM, designers are able to identify complications even before construction – this can prevent costly abortive efforts later. BCA implemented the BIM Roadmap almost a decade ago, and today its use is widespread in Singapore’s construction industry.

For the Surbana Jurong Campus, BIM was applied particularly to Facilities Management (BIM:FM). In fact, BIM:FM is a proprietary solution used by Surbana Jurong to improve productivity, and keep long term maintenance costs low.

In building Surbana Jurong Campus, IDD was used to keep stakeholders along the value chain updated and informed of ongoing developments. This includes the use of Internet of Things (IOT) technology, for real-time monitoring and updates.

IDD ensures a better outcome for end-users of the building by ensuring everyone involved is working on the same page. For example, when applied to construction, IDD technologies allow stakeholders to track ongoing process, and to be updated in real-time of any changes.

2. Benefits of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA)

DfMA lowers costs and improves speed and precision in construction, such as by using precast concrete instead of wet pouring on-site.

This mitigates the need for custom-built components, which add significantly to the initial cost of construction. In addition, the logistical chain needed to produce precast materials can be simplified and streamlined.

3. A Super Low Energy (SLE) design for sustainability

The Surbana Jurong Campus meets BCA's Green Mark Platinum (SLE) certification for being a SLE Building. Green Mark Platinum is the highest rating for holistic sustainability considerations, whilst SLE certification demonstrates the highest recognition possible for energy efficiency. Just through photovoltaic technology (solar panels), Surbana Jurong Campus can generate around 340 MWH of renewable energy every year.

This results in an over 40 per cent improvement in the development’s energy efficiency, when coupled with other green technologies. This includes smart lighting controls, which shut off the light when no one is present, underfloor air-distribution system for the delivery of the conditioned air, and live energy and water management dashboards.

The project also focuses on passive design strategies, including how they have designed their façade to maximise useful daylight and views whilst minimising heat gains. This approach reduces power demands for electrical lighting and air-conditioning. Where active systems, such as air conditioning, are used, they have been designed to operate at a very high energy efficiency.

4. An emphasis on biophilic design principles

Biophilic design is both an approach and a philosophy, which holds that the built environment should complement natural surroundings rather than replace them. Surbana Jurong Campus avoids intrusive architectural elements and blends with the surrounding greenery – indoor and outdoor garden spaces blend seamlessly throughout the development.

just-through-photovoltaic-technology-surbana-jurong-complex-can-generate-around-340-mwh-of-renewable-energy-every-yearJust through photovoltaic technology (solar panels), Surbana Jurong Campus can generate around 340 MWH of renewable energy every year. This results in an over 40 per cent improvement in the development’s energy efficiency, when coupled with other green technologies and passive design strategies. 

The growing role of sustainability in Singapore’s built environment

BCA has long spearheaded the drive towards sustainability in construction. The BCA Green Mark schemes and Super Low Energy programme were introduced to encourage  developers to incorporate innovative sustainability solutions in their developments. Find out more about BCA Green Mark, or apply for it, and be a part of the sustainability drive.


The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) champions the development and transformation of the built environment sector, in order to improve Singapore’s living environment. BCA oversees areas such as safety, quality, inclusiveness, sustainability and productivity, all of which, together with our stakeholders and partners, help to achieve our mission to transform the Built Environment sector and shape a liveable and smart built environment for Singapore.