Day 10, Malaysia

Unfortunately, today was the last day of our studytrip. A last visit to a company called ARUP was planned. ARUP is an international company specialized in mechanical, structural, civil and geotechnical engineering. ARUP aims on creating environments that are comfortable for occupants, economic for owners and efficient with resources. With 90 offices in 35 countries and 10000 planners, designers, engineers and consultants they are truly global focused.

A short presentation was given by the Mechanical & Electrical director of the Malaysian department of ARUP focused on the diverse projects ARUP was involved in. The presentation showed that the company is mostly involved with high-rise buildings, especially in Malaysia. Most of the employees of ARUP Malaysia are locals with an exchange of knowledge and expertise with other ARUP departments abroad. In addition, a more detailed presentation in which the involvement of ARUP in the development of the KKR2 high-rise building was presented. Among others ARUP was involved in the development of air conditioning, rain water harvesting, fire protection and mechanical ventilation systems. Afterwards two specialist joined the gathering for some additional information and to answer questions. The visit ended with our last delicious Malaysian lunch.

After the visit we had some spare time to do last-minute souvenir shopping or a massage next to the hostel. Due to heavy rain our plan to have a dinner before we went to the airport was cancelled. So we took ’’Air Force One’’ (how our taxidriver called his shuttlebus) to the airport where we had our last dinner. The flight to Amsterdam had again a stop in Frankfurt where we, after a flight with some turbulence, arrived at Tuesday morning.

Unfortunately at Amsterdam we found out that one of the suitcases was left at Frankfurt airport. At Schiphol we said our goodbyes and everyone went their own way and we could look back on a successful trip!

Hostel-Malaysia

Bareld & Babette

Day 9, Malaysia

After a short night celebrating Kings day and waking up at just the right time we left the guesthouse to take a train trip to Kepong Sentral where the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM in short) is situated. FRIM is located in the north of Kuala Lumpur and is the largest secondary forest, which means that the forest has had a second life after being destroyed for the tin mining industry. FRIM is nowadays used for research into animals and plants. It is open for public as a living museum or for taking the climb to the most popular of four routes, the Canopy Walk.

To get there from the train station we have to take some cabs. Some us had the opportunity to meet Michael Schumacher a.k.a. Barack Obama. He was definitely the fastest cabby we’ve met so far. Arriving safely at FRIM after some near death experiences we were informed by a sweet ticket sales person that we should have made a reservation for a large group. Our leader of the day made it possible to do the Canopy Walk in groups of five people leaving separately.

The first shift left at about 11.45h and started the long walk uphill not knowing what was to come. We learned that Malayan distances are not what they seem to be. Even though the average length of the Malayan population is not that tall, even us Dutchies had some trouble getting up the steep steps. After an hour of climbing and sweating we arrived at the Canopy Walkway. Our hard work was paid off by some amazing views through the treetops. The first group left a message to the others by placing a Mollier sticker on top of the last treetop bridge which was noted by even more Dutch tourists.

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At the way down we have seen some of the fauna that the rainforest has to offer. Big red ants and really large centipedes. Some of us were able to cool down beneath a waterfall while the last group was just in time back before the rain started. We are used to rain in the Netherlands but here in the tropics we have really experienced heavy raining.

The next stop was supposed to be the Batu Caves and ended up to be a local food court instead, to wait for the rain to stop. Part of the group was lucky enough to find a cab to bring them to the caves. When the rest of the group tried to follow them a cabby told them that a flooding happened on the road to the caves and he would  not travel there anymore and dropped some of us at Kelong Sentral. Perhaps he was on his way back home because eight of the group were able to get to Batu Caves by cab leaving the group scattered all over Kelong.

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Being drawn by the need to visit the Batu Caves we left by train once more to get to Batu Station. This effort was rewarded by the group being complete at the beginning of the 272 stairs. Most already survived the second work out of that day while the late arrivals still needed to climb them.  Again after a long climb and some more sweating we were rewarded with an insight into the Hindu religion and cave scenery. The temple cave is decorated with Hindu shrines. After visiting this temple and climbing down the 272 stairs we enjoyed the last full night in Kuala Lumpur.

Karin & Larissa

Kingsday Malaysia

Day 8, Malaysia

City tour

The beginning of day 10 was a hard one again. At 9 o’clock we started with the city tour through Kuala Lumpur, where we have seen all the beautiful places in the city and got to know how Kuala Lumpur has became the city that it is nowadays.

The first stop was at the National history museum, where we became awake. After about 40 minutes we went to the next spot, the National mosque. We could enter the mosque, by changing our western clothing for a muslims robe. The result you can see in the picture below.

After this we went to the palace of the king. We couldn’t see a lot of the palace because of the distance, so we enjoyed ourselves by taking pictures of the guards, which were sitting on a horse, which was trying to stand still.

Day 8, btl 2014, moslims

Than we went to the national monument which is founded to commemorate all the soldiers from Malaysia who fell into dead during the war against Japan for getting independent.

At last we went to the independence square where we could buy some gadgets for our loved ones.

KL Tower

After the tour we went to the hostel to get prepared for the literally HIGH tea in the KL tower, which has a height of 421 m. At a height of 282, there was a huge restaurant, with in the middle the high tea buffet. The view at this height was very nice, because the restaurant was turning around every hour. So we could see the whole city. We where impressed the most of the view, but also by the food. We thought that it was very boring for the men, just like in Holland, but here it was totally different. There was a lot of food, such as cakes, cookies, noodles, fried food, sushi, ice cream, etc. So everyone was completely full of food.

Everyone was also impressed of the toilets, because it has a computer on it, for adjusting the height of the toilet, cleaning your butt, configuring the water temperature etc.

Probably the most memorable moment of this high tea was the moment that the waiter brought a chocolate cake with a candle light for the celebration of Barry’s birthday.

King’s day

Even though we’re on the other side of the world we were celebrating King’s day. In the evening everyone was dressed up in orange, which took the attention of everyone who has a connection with the Netherlands. This night we went to two pubs where we drank a few beers on Willy’s birthday.

Bas & Bart

Day 7, Malaysia

After a good night of sleep in our comfortable double bedrooms we woke up to day 7 of our study trip with (somewhat) renewed energy. Today we visited the ST Diamond building in the new city of Putrajaya, which has specially been founded to house Malayan government buildings. At present, 95% of all government buildings are found here. Imagine the view of a brand new, clean and structured city filled with large buildings, we could not help to think about Singapore. One could say Malaysia is creating it’s own little Singapore here.

One of the buildings in the city of Putrajaya is the ST Diamond building we visited this morning. It is designed by IEN consultants, a consulting company which specializes in so-called green buildings and strife to keep the building process low carbon. Charles Loo, employee of IEN consultants, was so kind to show us around and give a presentation about the sustainable aspects of the building. The ST Diamond building achieved GBI platinum and GreenMark platinum ratings and has been awarded a second place ASHRAE technology award

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The presentation gave some insight in the sustainable aspects of the building that contributed to these recognitions. The first aspect is the shape of the building, which of course is a diamond shape (what’s in a name) and has many benefits for daylighting. The shape creates natural shading which is very useful in the Malaysian tropical climate. The trees surrounding the building reflect daylight into the offices at the facades. Rooms that are not adjacent to the facade receive daylight from the atrium, where angled panels provide more beneficial reflections into the rooms.

Another remarkable aspect is the cooling which is provided by two systems consisting of a cooled floor slab and air cooling. The air cooling is used during the day and the floor slab at night. The advantage of this system is that the thermal mass is used. It is not very common in Kuala Lumpur to use floor slab cooling because the surface temperature and humidity in the air must be controlled very strictly to prevent condensation. IEN consultants managed to control the air and surface temperatures and the humidity of the air, so no condensation will occur. Further, in contrast with the Netherlands district cooling service is used to provide chilled water. A downside of the system is the supply temperature of 8 °C, which is alright for air cooling but is way too low for the floor slab cooling. Now the chilled water is mixed with return water to increase the inlet temperature of the water to 19 °C, thus destroying the valuable temperature difference.

Other green aspects in the building are the rain water harvesting for re-use in toilets and other appliances.
After Charles showed us around the building, we even visited the green roof and had a look at the skylight of the atrium, the photovoltaic panels and all the HVAC systems. After this very interesting and inspiring tour we said goodbye to Charles and the staff of the Diamond building and continued our trip through Putrajaya. Our bus driver picked us up and brought us to the Putra Mosque where we enjoyed a great meal and view at one of the famous buildings of Putrajaya. We continued our journey as the bus drove us through the rest of the city showing us various other government buildings.

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We subsequently spent our afternoon traveling to the Kuala Selangor lighthouse on the Bukit Melawati hill. The lighthouse is a reminder of the Dutch presence in Malaysia and is now surrounded by a forest inhabited by monkeys. After hanging around  with the monkeys for a while (yes, pun intended), we traveled to the Selangor river to enjoy a nice seafood meal and have a look at one of the worlds largest firefly colonies on the mangrove banks of the Selangor river. Here we enjoyed both the fresh river breeze and the beautiful scenery created by the firefly colony. A great ending of our day.

Selangor river

Tomorrow we’ll be enjoying a city tour and really, really high tea!

Christina & Niels

Day 6, Malaysia

After a long and chaotic bus trip, the train ride started with a delay of thirty minutes. Everyone was really tired and burned up and was looking for a good night sleep in the bumpy night train. The train had bunk beds and was old but (relatively) clean. We soon noticed that the length of the beds were designed for Asian people and definitely not for Europeans. Therefore creative bed poses were invented, such as laying the feet out of the bed in the corridor. After  a surprisingly good night of sleep and a delay of two hours, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur.

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At the train station we were picked up by the bus of the University of Malaya and  in thirty minutes we were brought to the campus. There we received a warm welcome by Raha Sulaiman (a teacher at the University who did her PhD research at the TU/e) and immediately got a breakfast with typical Malaysian food. Then we were brought to the lecture room where twenty Malaysian students were already waiting for us for two hours. We got a short welcome and introduction about the University. The faculty of the Built Environment Is a relatively young faculty (since 2000) and entered a new building in 2013. Then three presentations by (PhD) students of each University about their research were held.
When the presentations were finished we got a tour around the campus. Raha  and a group of very enthusiastic students could tell us a lot about the campus. The campus is in the middle of the city, but has a large ground surface and is really green. Sixty percent of the students lives on the campus and the campus has a big sports center and even a large new stadium.

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In the afternoon, the bus took us to the Petronas towers. Here we first went to the 41st floor and walked on the sky bridge which connects the towers. The bridge is the highest in the world and is used as an escape route in case of emergency in one of the towers. The view over Kuala Lumpur at the sky bridge was amazing, but became even more amazing when we went to the 86st floor  (The second highest floor) of the Petronas towers. Here you had a 360o view over the city. When you were standing at the edges of the floor near the windows you could feel the tower swinging.

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Our hostel, Raizzy’s guesthouse, is situated in the middle of Chinatown, next to a Hinduist temple. In Chinatown we enjoyed our first meal in Kuala Lumpur in a typical Chinese restaurant. Late in the evening we went to the Skybar in the Trader’s hotel. This Skybar is situated on the 33th floor were we had a view on the Petronas Towers by night.

Overall our first impression of Kuala Lumpur is that the city has more old cultural buildings than Singapore and a lot of natural green areas (In comparison with the man-made green areas in Singapore). However it has a lot more garbage on the street and is much less structured than Singapore. The hostel were we stay is neat and it is nice to share a bedroom with only one person.

We hope to explore more of this diverse city in the next few days.

Luuk & Jelle

Day 5, Singapore

The morning was free for everybody to pack their bags and get ready for checking out from the hostel, because in the evening we were going to take  the night train to Kuala Lumpur. At 12 o’clock we checked out  and left our bags at the hostel. With the metro we went to Gardens by the Bay. Carly Lamb, a landscape architect from Grand Associates, gave us a tour. Gardens by the Bay was an international architectural contest, which was won by Grand Associates six years ago. The park contributes to Singapore’s goal of a green and sustainable environment.

The two glass and steel green houses in the form of shells close to the river contain each one a specific environment which is threatened by the global warming. One has a cool and dry climate with Mediterranean plants, the other one has a cool and humid climate which can be found in areas with rain forest. For the cooling, organic waste, like grass or part of trees, is used which is collected throughout the whole city. Chilled air is blown in only on the pedestrian level to reduce energy consumption. Furthermore special glass and sunscreens are used to lower the solar radiation. All these features added up help to meet the energy requirements which are set up for offices.

The installations to maintain the climate in the cooling houses are hidden underneath a layer of earth which is covered by grass and plants to keep the machinery out of the visitors sight. Used air needs to be extracted from the buildings. Here the super trees, which are the eye catchers of the park, function as chimneys. Besides that they have other functions like a restaurant/ bar at the top of the tree in the middle or they contain PV panels on top. After the tour we still had some time to discover the green houses ourselves.

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We left the park in the afternoon and went back to the district Little India, which is close to our hostel, to have dinner there. Afterwards we rushed back to our hostel to get our bags. After a 45 minutes walk we arrived at the bus stop for the bus in direction Malaysia. At first being afraid of not making it on time due to the huge queue we ended up all together in one bus which was too small for all of our luggage. After a ride of half an hour we arrived at the border of Singapore and Malaysia where our bags and passports had to be checked. After a smooth transition we waited at the platform on our train which supposed to depart at 23:30.

Here we come, Kuala Lumpur!

Franziska & Manon

Day 4, Singapore Heinen en Hopman

Day 4, Singapore

Today was the First day we would visit a company. At 8am we left the hostel to visit Heinen & Hopman in Singapore. Heinen & Hopman is a company that produces HVAC systems for ships. The company in Singapore is mainly a factory where they make the installations and install them in the ships. We were welcomed by Arthur Klay and he gave a presentation about the company. In Singapore there are working 37 people from Singapore in the company, but even 155 foreigners. Interesting to know is that the company can employ foreigners but in the ratio of one to five. Most of the people that are working for the company don’t work in the factory, but on the shipyards. After the presentation we got a tour around the factory and the office. The lunch was also provided by Heinen & Hopman and after the lunch the group was split up. 16 people went to Geylang Serai and 4 to the Tiger Brewery. To get to our destination we got a lift from Heinen & Hopman. The company had a small pick up truck that was totally decorated.

The four students that were going to the Tiger Brewery were brought also with the pick up from Heinen & Hopman. They were guided through the brewery where most of the Singaporean beer were brewed, for example Heineken, Guinness, Archor and Tiger. After the tour where whole the brewery process was explained they could taste some of the best beers in the pub.

The district Geylang was large and we didn’t find the part Geylang Serai. We did find (and tried) durians. This is some typical fruit from Asia/Singapore which is also known as smelly fruit. The fruit indeed does smell and has a fruity flavor mixed with unions. After walking around Geylang and seeing some old buildings from this district, the rest of the afternoon was free.

A part of the group went to the Arabic part of Singapore. Singapore consists of districts with different cultures. There is the Arabic part, Geylang is the Malay part and there is also for example Little India and Chinatown.

In the evening there was a light show at the Marina Bay Sands with water, lasers and projections. After the show it was scheduled to go to the top of Marina Bay Sands. The skypark was already closed, but the Skybar was still open. At the skybar there was a beautiful view of the skyline of Singapore. After drinking some very expensive cocktails it was time to go home and end the day.

‘I come and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand.’ – Confusius

Sigrid & Lisan

Day 3, Singapore

Day 3, Singapore

After a bad night watching football, the morning started early at 8 o’clock. After we had breakfast together, PhD student Clayton Miller joined us at the hostel to guide us through the day. Clayton is from the United States and finished his master on the National University of Singapore (NUS). After some work experience he started his PhD last year on the ETH university of Zurich, where he joined the Architecture and Building department to pursue research on the Future Cities Laboratory (FCL) project.

At 9 o’clock we went by metro to our first destination. After a travel of almost 1,5 hours we arrived at one of the most sustainable buildings of Singapore, the Universal World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA). After our president Bart gave a short introduction about the TU/e and Mollier, a college of Clayton, who monitors the building operations, gave a presentation about the working principles of the building and the installed climate systems.

UWCSEA is designed and built within 36 months by a building team consisting of people with different technical specialization. Because of the warm and humid climate, it is a difficult task to realize comfortable indoor temperatures with acceptable humidity rates. The indoor conditions are treated by a HVAC systems equipped with chillers and dehumidifiers. The temperature settings are kept around 24 degrees and the humidity level between de 40 and 60%. To realize these settings 36 chillers are needed to cool the whole building. For these chillers the UWCSEA uses solar thermal cooling, with a capacity of 2x600ton and 1×400 ton chillers to cool down as much as possible. The system was designed with a COP of 4.9 (June 2011), but after tweaking by the system it is increased to 6.1. The maintenance engineer even has the entire system on his mobile phone to make adjustments on the spot. Next to that he hacked the site and implemented a background, which tells the weather (rainy image of the campus) and time (night image when it is dark).

After a great lunch at the campus we headed to the NUS and the Future Cities Lab (FCL) department in Singapore (a 2-hour journey across the whole of Singapore). Singapore has invested in knowledge from all over the world. Research teams from MIT, Berkley, the TU Munich, and the EHL are located in the building. They are funded to perform research for five years by the Singapore government. Over 100 PhD, postdoctoral, and Professional researchers are working on diverse themes varying from room level to urban and state level. All these themes are related to future cities and environmental sustainability. After an exchange of presentation from two PhD-ers on their side, and Bart, Patrick and Roel on our side, there was a small tour set up through the company where several finished projects are displayed. These differed from a solution to the warm ‘ back ally’ air conditioning units to the traffic jams in Singapore. The final destination of the FCL was the BubbelZERO lab. This was built in Zurich to test zero energy heating and ventilation systems in Switzerland, and was moved to Singapore to test the same systems under humid and warm circumstances.

The final stop of today was the Night Safari. It is the world’s fist safari park with over 2,500 nocturnal animals in their ‘ naturalistic’ nighttime habitats. The highlight was the show with ended with a educational note: “Remember: Waste should be Reduced, Reused, and RECYCLED!!

Patrick & Werner

Day 2, Singapore

After a crazy pub crawl yesterday we headed to Sentosa today. With a little hangover we went to this man made island with its white beaches and entertainment park for a day at the beach. With our swimming shorts and bikinis on we took the metro line, some walk and monorail as transportation. The island was facing to more than 100 big ships waiting to enter the nearby harbor. The harbor is one of the main revenues because of the good accessibility to the main land of south-east Asia. After a swim in the warm water, resting and some ball games we went to harbor port mall.

This mall does feel like a huge American shopping mall with at least 4 levels into the ground with miles of mainly western orientated shops. Here we had dinner and some coffee before we had our night trip to the Southern Ridges walk. The Southern ridges walk is located nearby the harbor city metro station, but since it was a huge mall we couldn’t find the exit to the ridges at once. The walk to the ridge of the mountain behind the metro station was through a very dark pathway called Marang Trial. On the ridge there we had an amazing view of the skyline of the southern side of Singapore. On this ridge there were more paths which leads us to some beautiful bridges over the hill tops.

We had a little accident with Lisan who felt into 0.5 meter deep rain water drainage. She injured here shin, but luckily we had the first-aid kit and Patrick who could perform the first aid. For the people at home Lisan is fine and can walk pretty well.

We ended the night with some drinks at our hostel before we went to bed. Tomorrow we visit the National University of Singapore and the Future Cities Laboratory (in cooperation with the ETH Zurich).

Kevin & Koop-Pieter

Day 1, Marina Bay Sands

Day 1, Singapore

At this moment we are sitting (and sweating) in the hostel garden. The whole group is complete, and maybe the best news, we are all still alive! Yesterday we arrived in Singapore after a long, but smooth flight. Our first impression is a clean and green country, with a climate that is comparable to a subtropical swimming pool. After arriving in the hostel we went for our first dinner to a typical Singaporean food court where, among others things, the first frog legs are eaten. The rest of the evening, the nightlife of Singapore was explored by a part of the group, while others went back to the hostel for catching up some sleep.

This morning the alarm clock was set at seven ‘o clock and with a basic breakfast of toast and coffee we went (almost on time) to the city tour.

Our first stop was at the financial district with a nice view on the Marina Bay Sands. Our enthusiastic tour guide, Mr. Foo, told us everything about the new developments of the city, and how this connects to the rich history of this place. The second stop was right in the middle of China town, where we visited the impressive Thian Hock temple. We also went to the city’s Botanic garden, with its nice collection of orchid flowers and other tropical species. Last stop was Little India, full of small shops, colors and interesting flavors.
After the morning program, we tried to reach our next destination, the City Gallery, through Singapore’s underground metro jungle. Here, we almost lost our first group member, because the trains here aren’t waiting for some “slow” tourists. Fortunately, there are not that many tall people in Singapore, so even when you’re lost it’s quite easy to find back the group: just look up!
The City Gallery demonstrates and explains Singapore’s mission to make the city a great place to live, work and play in. We saw some impressive, large models with the city’s masterplan and got some insights into the ideas for future developments. Very interesting!
Now we are getting ready for our second Asian dinner, or will some of us already go for the American fastfood option? Afterwards we continue with the one and only Singapore pub crawl.

Roel & Jorinde