Integrated System Thinking: A Philosophy for STH BNK

Indesign Live Feature with Ben Van Berkel, UNStudio

Famed architect and co-founder of UNStudio Ben Van Berkel was recently interviewed and featured in acclaimed design title InDesign Live, where he spoke to the evolving nature of Environmental Sustainability and Governance values (ESG), within the construct of urban circularity.

Ben’s firm UNStudio, together with Cox Architecture, is behind the now famous twisting form that’s come to define the STH BNK By Beulah project. Ben recently visited Melbourne and sat down for a panel discussion with Beulah, where he spoke to his design philosophy – ‘integrated system thinking,’ a concept that ultimately played a pivotal role in the overall scope of the development.

“Nowadays, architects have to deal with ever-increasing and complex considerations and regulations, such as ESG [environmental, social and governance], with all the complexities of sustainability and circularity – including the economic value of sustainable thinking. We need to integrate these factors into our design process from an early stage through what I call ‘integral system thinking,” he told InDesign Live.

Ben explains the importance of ESG through the lens of health; physical health, like stimulating walking in buildings by including staircases; social health – the S of ESG – creating better communities that activate people to do more things together and then of course, G for Governance. As it relates to STH BNK, Ben says the twist of the towers is anchored to sustainability. “How to twist away from the heat of the summer sun and accommodate nice balconies for housing, or neighbourhoods in the sky, as we call them.”

Famous for his love of creating sentimental experiences, not just places and buildings, Ben loved the energy and dynamism that Beulah exuded as they sort to imbue the project with artistic and culturally inspiring elements.

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