In an exclusive interview with Home & Decor, architect Jason Pomeroy talks about the urgency of building sustainable marine cities and what’s needed for them to thrive.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The future lies at sea, and the future is now. At the SMM (shipbuilding, machinery, marine technology) fair held in September last year – the fair is the leading international maritime trade show held biennially in Hamburg – technology group Wartsila announced its global initiative titled “An Oceanic Awakening”.

Wartsila, the Finnish global leader in smart technology in the marine and energy sectors, announced that the bold new project focuses on “the radical transformation of the world’s marine and energy industry into one supremely efficient ecologically sound and digitally connected ecosystem”.

The visions birthed at the Hamburg workshop were also meant to inspire the global marine industry and the authorities to address complex problems caused by rapid urban growth.

Jason Pomeroy of Pomeroy Studios was one of three prominent Singapore-based design and sustainability innovators representing the city at Hamburg (the other two are Vivien Leong, partner at Ipli Architects, and Song Kee Hong, a leading academic with the industrial design division at National University of Singapore and winner of the prestigious Red Dot Luminary Award in 2009).

“The workshop experience in Hamburg brought together urban planners, architects, and experts in smart technology together to discuss ideas for a better, sustainable use of port infrastructure,” recalls Jason.

He adds: “With the world population projected to reach 9.6 billion in about 30 years’ time, our cities continue to face tremendous urban pressures. There has got to be an alternative.

“Currently, there is a lot of talk about green architecture but, while we are passionate about greening cities, it is just as important we focus on the blue agenda.”

Jason, who’s also a TV host on Channel News Asia’s Smart Cities 2.0, City Time Traveller and City Redesign, is well-known for his work on sustainable architecture, having conceived outstanding projects ranging from a green technological hub in Jakarta dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Indonesia” to the “Idea House”, the first zero carbon house in South-east Asia, and affordable housing in the Philippines.

“It is just as important we talk about blue architecture,” he stresses. “We need to look into how we can break down barriers within ports and cities so that they can be better connected.”

Through working with thought leaders like Jason, Wartsila hopes to also create and shape a vision for how Singapore may evolve as a smart marine city.

Harking back to the old days when Clarke Quay and Boat Quay were once a vibrant trade and transshipment zone, a period in history where godowns and shop houses teemed with people working and living in the area, Jason is grounded in the belief that it is only through learning from the past that the present can be informed.

Trade and commerce took place at those godowns, and people worked and lived there,” he says. “How do we then breathe vitality and life back into our modern port cities? “We need to reinvigorate them economically, culturally and socially again.”

Find out more about Wartsila and the SEA20 Forum on www.sea20.org.
My Reading Room


My Reading Room

One of the solutions to the future of urban living is to bring back the functionality of ports and harbours.


Green architecture needs to take into account marine conservation as well.

The proposal of a smart marine city development, which utilises energy generated from wind and oceans.