Happy International Women’s Day 2021

8th March 2021 is International Women’s day. This year’s theme is “Choose to challenge”. SPARK has chosen as all signatories of “Architects Declare” to focus on the challenges posed by climate change and bio-diversity.

Directing the challenge is Liliani Saputri the new leader of SPARK’s Sustainabiity Team. Lili will be steering SPARK’s ambition to reduce our carbon foorprint, challenging all aspects of our design process and manage the professional development aspects and awareness of pertitinent sustainabily issues across our studios.

Liliani Saputri
Architectural Designer
Sustainability Leader

Liliani Saputri is an Indonesian Architectural Designer at SPARK Architects, Singapore. Lili works extensively on large-scale mixed-use and master planning projects, including SPARK’s award-winning Guangzhou Shipyard Waterfront Regeneration project.

In 2021, Lili was appointed SPARK’s Sustainability Leader with the objective of kickstarting conversations about climate change and encouraging adoption of environmental and sustainable practice across SPARK’s studios.

She works on research projects focusing on social and environmental issues including: Big Arse Toilet (recycling waste), 3 Little Pigs (water pollution) and Kiss the Petrol Kiosks Goodbye (repurposing vacant gas stations)

Lili received a Master of Architecture from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in 2016 and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainable Design in 2015.

Lili co-lead a public space research project at SUTD and has contributed to projects at Future Cities Lab and the Advanced Architecture Laboratory.

To mark International Women’s Day 2021 we asked Lili a few questions related to her new role at SPARK. We hope you enjoy reading her answers.

01. Lili, congratulations on your new role. Can you introduce the scope of your new role at SPARK to us?

Lili: Thank you. As a Sustainability Leader at SPARK, I kickstart conversations about the pressing issues related to climate change and how we, as architects, can contribute to green recovery and adopt environmental and sustainable solutions in our practice.

SPARK’s 3 Little Pigs

02. Greta Thunberg said “ We are environmentally stuck in a loop where everyone blames each other. It’s as if there is a fire alarm and we argue about the alarm instead of the fire” So, Lili, how do we break this cycle and take ownership of the problem, what can SPARK positively contribute to this conversation?

Lili: I believe that everyone in the community needs to take ownership of the problem in order to see significant change. There are many ways each of us can contribute to break this cycle.

First, the individual layer. It starts from our personal lives, we can minimise our carbon footprint by reducing consumption, re-using items and recycling our waste.

Second, the community layer. We can and should encourage friends and family to do the same thing. Even the smallest change in lifestyle can become a success when it is executed over an extended period of time.

Third, the studio layer, we should propose and design appropriate solutions that reduce energy consumption through minimising waste, use of carbon lite technologically engineered materials and actively support the retrofitting of existing buildings rather than building new.

Last, at the political layer, we can counsel our political leaders and policy makers to provide better incentives for households and businesses to positively alter their behaviour to be “greener”.

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation affecting the future of humanity. How our planet will sustain us provide suitable sustainable habitat and the food we need.

We need everyone’s action to solve it.

SPARK contributes positively to sustainability in various ways and we will continue to do so with renewed vigour though action and our self-initiated research projects that deal with sustainable issues such as plastic waste in the ocean.

SPARK’s Beach Hut

03. The extent of humanity’s vulnerability has been starkly demonstrated by the impact of Covid-19 on world economies. If one virus can lay waste to the fabric of society, we need to rethink things and start to live more socially and environmentally sustainable. Covid has emphasised that we need to listen to the science. Lili, how do you stay up to date on pertinent issues that affect SPARK at a micro and macro level?

Lili: Mostly through news articles, The Guardian, New York Times, National Geographic and Channel News Asia. Recently, a friend introduced me to The Conversation, written by academics who offer a comprehensive perspective on global issues.

SPARK’s Kiss the Petrol Kiosk Goodbye

04. Could you tell us about the plans SPARK has implemented to reduce its carbon footprint and how this is supported by local government policy and service providers?

Lili: In 2019, Singapore Government introduced the “Open Electricity Market” in a bid to create and encourage innovation in the power industry. As such, we decided to switch our fossil-fuel generated electricity to carbon neutral electricity from solar-based sources.

In other ways, the studio has also adapted by switching daily necessities to sustainable products, such as plant-based detergent, bamboo toilet paper, and reusable dinnerware. We’ve reduced our dependence on mineral water fountain plastic barrels by installing a water filter system. We have bins in our studio that separate our trash into the different material types for easier recycling.

SPARK’s recycled plastic Christmas tree

05. To finish on a more personal note can you tell us about a role model who piqued your interest in sustainability.

I was first exposed to environmental issues by the book “Green Washed: Why We Can’t Buy Our Way to a Green Planet” by Kendra Pierre Louis. Essentially, the book articulates the necessity to rethink our economic systems away from the perpetual upward curve of consumption, to a more balanced system that mitigates against the damage we are doing to the planet.

The person who truly got me into more sustainable practice was my close friend. Her concern for climate change inspired me. I began to small steps to adopt green practice such as bringing my own reusable grocery bag and eating vegetarian meals on some days. Although small steps they have set me along the path towards bigger future steps.

One small step for Lili, hopefully one giant step for mankind.

Happy International Women’s Day 2021.

“We need to challenge Environmental Racism it’s a thing that’s happening everywhere, we need to see that.”

— Greta Thunberg