May 20, 2020

A 3D printing ‘Tetris’ design tower could counteract Tokyo's housing shortage

Tokyo housing shortage
Catherine Rowell
2 min
A 3D printing ‘Tetris’ design tower could counteract Tokyo's housing shortage

With a rising population, Tokyo is one of the busiest cities in the world. Housing is tight, with an ever-increasing number of skyscrapers built to counteract the growing housing shortage, which is creating a number of issues within the Japanese capital.

However, a new skyscraper proposal by architect Haseef Rafiei has been unveiled at the eVolo’s 2017 Skyscraper Competition. Rafiei has bought the Japanese love for vending machines to life, where the tower would be under continual construction and counteract the housing shortage, bringing the concept of wabi-sabi (finding beauty in the imperfect or incomplete) to the forefront of the unique build, adapting over time.

The skyscraper would become a home dispenser, 3D printing modular apartments from a printer, which would be installed at the top of the building and can be personalised for customer requirements, even when completed, or purchase additional pods if required. This enables residents to gain additional rooms or take some away, and can be purchased immediately.  After building on site, reducing costs, the automated system would calculate the positioning of the pod and transport it via a crane, which will plug into the current structure. These dwellings can also be moved after they have been positioned, creating a complete customised build.

The build would continually grow upwards to counteract the housing shortage. As the building rises, the printer also rises. A hydraulic system pumps the needed construction materials up to the printer. In terms of sustainability and recycled materials, any vacant or abandoned pods will be able to be dismantled and bought back to the printer to reuse.

Not only a skyscraper to counteract the housing shortage, the building would also incorporate offices for corporate businesses, enabling economic growth.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.


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