iNTA-SEGA 2009:Bridging Innovation, Technology and Tradition

iNTA-SEGA 2009:Bridging Innovation, Technology and Tradition

Holistic approaches to (rapid) sustainable architecture and environment

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iNTA : International Network for Tropical Architecture

The International Network for Tropical Architecture (iNTA) was initiated by the Founding Network Core, which was also the Organising Committee of iNTA 1st International Tropical
Architecture Conference (iNTA Conference 2004).iNTA has the following objective:
Networking researchers and practitioners internationally to collaborate and learn from each other about problems and solutions pertaining to architecture and urban design in the tropical
(and sub-tropical) regions, because of the shared climatic

imperatives and opportunities in like regions.

Tropical Architecture used here refers to man-made architectural and urban environments relating to the climatic and natural conditions of the tropical regions, and interacting with various local specifics of culture, urban fabric and technology. The network was formed and is growing through research initiatives such as conferences, publications, and others, with iNTA Conference 2004 being its first initiative

Problems of Architectural and Urban
Design in the Tropical Regions

The tropical regions in total form a very large proportion of the world land mass. Since after the Second World War, the countries in the tropical (and sub-tropical) belt had undergone rapid development with imported materials, technologies and even the way of building and ‘living’, especially from the Western Northern temperate hemisphere. These rapid developments with highdensity urban globalisation in many cities are on the increase, but one thing that remains relatively unchanged is the tropical condition of climatic and natural environment. There is also a vast collection of traditional sustainable built environments intertwined with diverse local cultures. Many questions are asked:

  • What design strategies are suited for tropical high-density city living of many rapidly growing urban hubs that take into consideration local environment and social-cultural needs?
  • Are imports satisfactorily adapted and in harmony with these conditions?
  • Do they engage with the diverse local cultural traditions and lifestyles of the tropical regions? Do they optimise natural environment and cultural habits for maximum energy savings?
  • Are comfort indices and environmental standards suitably adapted to the tropical conditions and local lifestyles?
  • Do foreign technologies and design typologies negate the local traditional lifestyles and values or enhance them? Do the expressions and aesthetics of imported designs level down or deface the distinctive characters of many cities?
  • Are there local and traditional methods and resources for building that can be adapted for contemporary developments?
  • Is there a marked separation of research in cultural studies and environmental parametric studies? Are there more holistic solutions for sustaining culture and environment? Can there be more mutual understanding and collaborations of researchers?

Some of these questions were addressed in iNTA Conference 2004, with the conference theme: Architectural and Urban Design in the Tropical Regions: Sustainability and Society. The papers were published in the proceedings. There are many more questions pertaining to the tropical regions.

Organisational Structure

The Founding Network Core, comprising J. H. Bay, B. L. Ong, S.L. Tse, N. H. Wong, L. C. Lee, and J. Widodo, steered the initial aims and operational policy of iNTA. This Network Core had proposed that iNTA remained as a versatile network of individuals with like interest in research on tropical design issues, and that
there is no necessity to register as a formal society. No subscription is also necessary.

The following organisational structure for iNTA was proposed at the first iNTA meeting held on the third day of iNTA Conference, 28 February 2004, as a simple structure for co-ordinating purposes:


Advisory Board
The Founding Network Core has invited internationally renowned researchers and practitioners with expertise relevant to iNTA to form the Advisory Board. The role of the Advisory Board is to lend
valuable comments, advice and support to iNTA for its various plans for conferences, publications, and other forms of research initiatives. The current advisory board comprise:

Alexander Tzonis Delft University of Technology. The Netherlands
Bruno Stagno Institute for Tropical Architecture, Costa Rica
Dean Hawkes Darwin College, University of Cambridge, UK
Donald Watson Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York, USA
Edna Shaviv Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
Hari Srinivas United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)
Ken Yeang TR Hamzah and Yeang, Malaysia
Koen Steemers University of Cambridge. UK
Tay Kheng Soon Akitek Tenggara, Singapore
Yuichiro Kodama Kobe Design University, Japan

Network Core
The Network Core will steer the direction of iNTA, and make decisions to facilitate iNTA conferences, publications, and other forms of research initiatives, such as special workshops, case studies, study trips, educational curriculum, textbooks, journals,etc.

Joo Hwa (Philip) Bay University of Western Australia
Edward Ng The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Johannes Widodo Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore
Lam Khee Poh Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Lin Hsien-Te National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
Malone-Lee Lai Choo Department of Real Estate, National University of Singapore
Ong Boon Lay Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore
S P Rao University of Malaya, Malaysia
Tse Swee Ling Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore
Wong Nyuk Hien Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore

The first successful project was the iNTA International Conference 2004, in Singapore.
The second successful project was the iNTA 2nd International
Conference 2006, in Indonesia – iNTAconference2006
The third project, the iNTAconference2007 was to be in Australia, but was cancel.
The fourth project, will be the iNTAconference2009, in Thailand – it
will be an iNTA-SEGA Joint Conference 2009, hosted by Kasetsart
Univerity, Bangkok.

Executive Core
The Executive Core is a coordinating team comprising the chairperson, and two members of the Network Core. The Executive Core will maintain the network contact list, and communicate various decisions and plans by the Network Core to the Advisory Board, general Network Members, and chairpersons
of iNTA conferences, publications, and other initiatives. It will also maintain the iNTA website, and receive feedbacks and suggestions.

The Executive Core from 2004 to date comprises:
J. H. Bay (Chairman)
B. L. Ong
J. Widodo

Network Members
The Founding Network Core has proposed that all the delegates of iNTA Conference 2004, and future iNTA conferences be accepted as Network Members. Through the Executive Core, the Network Core will encourage all members to give comments and suggestions, and propose, develop and execute various iNTA research initiatives.

iNTA has worked with various supporting organisations for iNTA Conference 2004 whom affiliations are being maintained. These organizations include:

  • Asia Research Institute
  • Building & Construction Authority
  • Housing & Development Board
  • JTC Corporation
  • Jurong Consultants Pte Ltd
  • National Parks Board
  • National Environment Agency
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore
  • Singapore Institute of Architects
  • Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects
  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • The Aga Khan Award for Architecture (Geneva)
  • Urban Redevelopment Authority
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • iNTA will continue to build up more affiliations, and look into the
  • possibility of working with various international organizations, sign
  • memorandum of understanding for future conferences, research
  • initiatives, and mutual support and publicity of events. There are
  • possibilities of collaborations with Passive Low Energy
  • Architecture (PLEA), SB Tokyo, and other organisations.

Contact Persons
Please feel free to make suggestions and send enquiries regarding possible collaborations with iNTA to the Executive Core:

  • Dr. J. H. Bay (Chairman) - or
  • Dr. B. L. Ong -
  • Dr. J. Widodo -

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