Audi Conversations: designing for tomorrow
Award-winning architect Jason Pomeroy believes in designing sustainable buildings that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also enhance the lives of their occupants
Jan 31, 2019
“Has that got my name written on it?”
Architect Jason Pomeroy asks this question in jest as the Audi A7 Sportback pulls into the driveway of Alice@Mediapolis, the innovation hub for media, technology and knowledge-based industries that his firm, Pomeroy Studio, designed.
That the Audi A7 Sportback would catch the eye of the multi-hyphenate Pomeroy (he’s an architect, academic, author and smart cities TV presenter rolled into one) is hardly surprising.
The A7, with its sweeping, coupé-like roofline and wide, single-frame grille, cuts a distinctive figure with its powerful stance and elegant form. It is the perfect ride for today’s dapper, fashion-forward gentlemen — like 44-year-old Pomeroy, whose buildings have garnered accolades for being not only outstanding in form, but also sustainable in function.
“I’ve always been passionate not just about the built environment, but the natural one as well,” he says. “Our studio is known for being designers and thought leaders of sustainable built environments that distil lessons from the past, to design for the present, and disseminate that knowledge for future generations.”
For Pomeroy, it is important that a building’s aesthetic is “evidence-based”. All his projects are vigorously tested with advanced computer software to measure daylight penetration, air circulation and carbon footprint to ensure that developers are not only getting beautiful, liveable cities and buildings, but also highly sustainable ones.
Through his body of work, it is evident that he enjoys marrying tradition with modern technology. Even the way he works — sketching with pen and paper to have his designs electronically transmitted to his team — reflects this.
He explains: “It is not just about brandishing a black pen and doing a sketch and thinking that this will look wonderful. Good quality design is ensuring that a building is functional, meets specific performance standards, and ultimately enhances the lives of those living, working, playing and learning in that particular environment.”
Pomeroy Studio has undertaken many groundbreaking projects since it was established in 2012, including B House, the first carbon negative house in Singapore, and a knowledge-based smart city in Jakarta that has been coined as the Silicon Valley of Indonesia.
Similarly, constant innovation coupled with smart design has been the brand promise of Audi’s “Vorsprung durch Technik” mantra, which describes a spirit of challenging conventions and being at the forefront of technological advancement in personalised digitalisation, intelligent urban mobility solutions and sustainable motor performance. Each new model delivers unparalleled comfort and intuitive operations in a sleek and powerful package.
The A7 Sportback’s impressive exterior mirrors a finely crafted interior that complements the look, feel and functionality of the car. Passenger comfort is optimised without compromising on luggage space. Going for a spin on blazing days is a breeze because an optional panoramic glass roof allows a bright, light-filled interior while doubling as an electronic blind for light protection and heat reduction.
The car’s futuristic-looking HD Matrix LED headlights provide a higher-intensity and clearer illumination of the road ahead without blinding other road users. Also available is a laser light option that achieves up to 10 times stronger lighting intensity and doubles the visual range with 30 per cent lower energy consumption compared to conventional LED technology.
The A7 Sportback’s high-resolution 10.1-inch and 8.6-inch HD touchscreens provide intuitive access (not unlike smartphones) to infotainment systems and air-conditioning, comfort functions and text input. The car’s new speech dialogue system allows users to activate features in natural conversational phrases without the need for specific commands.
Interestingly, Pomeroy notes that the curvilinear silhouette of the A7 Sportback, which has an integrated spoiler that extends electronically at speeds of 120km/h for better aerodynamics, parallels the architecture of Pomeroy Studio’s buildings.
These include Alice@Mediapolis, which has facades that wrap around the skycourts that offer skyrise social spaces for its occupants and fins that offer protection from the sun. Such features optimise airflow within the natural and built environments of the building for its occupants.
Asked to name a truly iconic building, Pomeroy picks St Paul’s Cathedral in London. He recalls: “My father took me there when I was eight. I remember standing by the curvature of the wall at the Whispering Gallery, feeling amazed that I could carry out a whispered conversation. That element of mysticism and delight sparked something in me to become an architect.”
Driving the A7 Sportback and enjoying the familiar smell of leather also evokes fond childhood memories of daily rides with his father between home and school, and martial arts and cello lessons.
“An Audi is as remarkably smooth and responsive today as when I first took the keys of our family car from my father. Its characteristic element of understated elegance, attention to detail and technologies at one’s fingertips is an example of how form can follow function and enhance the end user’s experience.”