My Tree House: World’s 1st green library for kids

A National Library Board and City Developments Limited Collaboration

The National Library Board (NLB) and City Developments Limited (CDL) unveiled plans to develop the World’s 1st Green Library for Kids named as “My Tree House”. This library development is a synergistic partnership between NLB and CDL. “My Tree House” is steered by green principles in all facets from design, infrastructure and use of sustainable materials, to collection and programming.

Attributes of “My Tree House”

“My Tree House” is a unique green library purposefully conceptualised, constructed and operated with environmental sustainability in mind. CDL will provide green expertise from its vast experience of developing eco-friendly properties and integrate comprehensive sustainable practices to create a green prototype library for kids. The eco-directive set for this innovative first-of-its-kind project will ensure that every detail from the holistic conceptual design and infrastructure, materials used in the construction, incorporation of innovative key features, are not only sustainable but proactively reinforce the overall green concept.

CDL has brought together other like-minded corporations, who are leading green players in their own fields, to lend their expertise and support in this groundbreaking initiative. These partners include ADDP Architects LLP – the design consultant led by Mr Tang Kok Thye, recently awarded Green Architect of the Year 2012 by Building and Construction Authority (BCA); Interface – the world’s largest manufacturer of sustainable carpet tiles which will provide the carpeting for this library; and Royal Philips Electronics – a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, which will be the lighting consultant and supplier of energy efficient lighting solutions and fittings for “My Tree House”.

The library has been designed to create an enchanted forest ambience with fun spaces for hands-on learning and reflections. “My Tree House” takes its name aptly after the centrepiece which is a tree house structure constructed with recyclable materials. It will evoke the feeling of a special place for children as featured in story books.

Targeted for completion in mid-2013, the library will be home to 70,000 books. About 30% of these books will focus on green topics such as animals, plants, nature, water resources, environment and climate change. NLB plans to work with other public agencies such as the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, National Climate Change Secretariat, National Environment Agency, National Parks Board and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency in developing the library’s collection and on using the library for environmental education and outreach. A wide range of tailored activities like games, storytelling and craftmaking to spur interest in children ages 4 to 12 are being planned. NLB is also gathering feedback and suggestions to customise the experience for child visitors. Members of the public can provide suggestions through email or forms at the library.

Mrs Elaine Ng, Chief Executive Officer of NLB said, “We are breaking new ground in public, private and people sector collaboration in library development. Together with City Developments Limited and its partners, we are creating a special library that will encourage children to explore, discover and challenge their curiosity in learning and caring for the environment. ‘My Tree House’ will help to nurture children to grow up to be environmentally conscious adults.”

Ms Esther An, CDL’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and General Manager (Corporate Affairs) added, “CDL has been championing the development of green buildings in Singapore for over a decade. Pioneering this children’s library with NLB is the perfect amalgamation of CDL’s green building expertise, commitment to greening private and public spaces, and most importantly, raising eco-awareness amongst the young for the benefit of our community and the environment. This is in line with our long-standing commitment to youth development and promoting sustainable development.”

This green library will be appropriately housed at the Central Public Library located within the National Library Building. This building first received the Green Mark Platinum Award in April 2005 and subsequently in March 2009. This is the highest honour for green buildings in Singapore bestowed by the BCA. In July 2007, it also won the first prize in the ASEAN Energy Efficiency Awards under the “New and Existing Building” category. In May 2007, the Building was given the Silver Award in the Universal Design Award from BCA, for its wide spaces, good lighting, accessibility and clarity in wayfinding.

For more information, please refer to:

  • Annex 1: “My Tree House” – Supporting Partners
  • Annex 2: “My Tree House” – Visual Features
  • Annex 3: “My Tree House” – Design Concept
  • Annex 4: “My Tree House” – Collection and Programmes

For media queries, please contact:

Ms Cindy Chew
Communications and Development
National Library Board
Tel: 6332 4740
Mobile: 9247 2127

Ms Christina Low
Communications and Development
National Library Board
Tel: 6332 1889
Mobile: 9683 4413

About the National Library Board

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation. Through the National Library and its network of 24 public libraries, NLB promotes reading, learning and information literacy. By forging strategic partnerships to cultivate knowledge sharing, libraries also encourage appreciation and awareness of Singapore’s history through their wide range of programmes and collection on Singapore and regional content. NLB also uses innovative technology to provide access to its digital library resources and services. NLB was established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board under the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA).

For more information on NLB, please visit

About City Developments Limited

As Singapore’s property pioneer, City Developments Limited (CDL) is a listed international property and hotel conglomerate with over 22,000 luxurious and quality homes to its name. CDL has been leading the industry with green building innovation since the 1990s and awarded the Green Mark Platinum Champion Award in 2011 and the Built Environment Leadership Platinum Award in 2009 by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for its commitment to sustainable development and Singapore’s built environment. Globally, CDL is the only Singapore corporation to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, FTSE4Good Index Series and the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World.

For more information on CDL, please visit


ADDP Architects LLP :

Founded in 1986, ADDP Architects is a multi-faceted architectural practice based in Singapore that offers a comprehensive scope of services including architectural and interior design, project administration and master planning. Since formation, a strong base of expertise has been established for a wide spectrum of project types with accomplishments of an international profile.

ADDP’s philosophy emphasises vibrant growth through the production of innovative and quality designs, which at the same time are responsive to client’s operating budgetary needs. ADDP is one of the first architectural firms to be certified ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System in Year 2005 as the Management is committed to green and sustainable building design.

ADDP has been awarded the BCA Built Environment Leadership Award (Gold Class Award Winner) in Year 2011 and also the BCI Asia Top 10 Architectural firms in Singapore for Year 2005 to 2012.


With manufacturing locations spanning across four continents and offices in more than 100 countries, Interface is the world’s largest manufacturer of carpet tiles. As the leader, Interface is widely recognised as the pioneer in sustainability globally. Interface’s commitment to the environment is embedded within the company’s philosophy and business strategy, moving away from the traditional industrial approach of ‘take, make, waste’ for a more sustainable business model based on recycling existing carpet and turning them into new products.

So, from installation to design, every Interface product and service offers aesthetics in addition to featuring various green attributes. Depending on the customer’s needs, Interface is able to offer carpets with up to 70% recycled content. Interface uses the lifecycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to evaluate and improve the environmental performance of its products. The LCA also forms the basis for sustainable carpet certifications like the NSF140. No other flooring company can provide more options to achieve certified green building status with style.

Interface is about focusing on sustainability without compromising business opportunities and great design since its sustainability journey began in 1994. The result is a company that cares for the quality of its products and quality of life for future generations. In doing so, the organisation hopes to encourage other companies to follow its lead in adopting policies and processes steeped in sustainability.

Royal Philips Electronics:

Royal Philips Electronics of the Netherlands (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through timely innovations. As a world leader in healthcare, lifestyle and lighting, Philips integrates technologies and design into people-centric solutions, based on fundamental customer insights and the brand promise of “sense and simplicity.” Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips employs approximately 122,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries worldwide. With sales of EUR 22.6 billion in 2011, the company is a market leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as lifestyle products for personal well-being and pleasure with strong leadership positions in male shaving and grooming, portable entertainment and oral healthcare.

In November 2011, Philips launched The ‘+’ Project program, a multi-year program aimed at improving the health and well-being of people in Asia Pacific. The ‘+’ Project is focused on improving the quality of urban living by helping to build livable cities, promote healthy living and work towards healthcare systems that are affordable and accessible. It combines the expertise from Philips’ business sectors and the company’s innovation capabilities and aims to achieve tighter collaboration with governments, municipals, health authorities and other relevant stakeholders to improve the quality of people’s lives across the region. The scope of this program covers the ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand and Korea. For more information, visit


An Enchanting and Magical Entrance to “My Tree House”

Interior of “My Tree House” – An Integrated Green Design Concept

Images above are artist’s impressions

Design Concept of “My Tree House”

  • The fundamental design concept by ADDP Architects LLP was inspired by the developmental growth of trees, which must take root in a solid foundation. The seed sprouts into a fragile shoot that must be well nurtured in order for it to mature into a fullygrown tree. A deeply “rooted” foundation constructs the structure of a growing young mind, while the “shooting” process reflects the cultivation to its maximum potential growth. This figuratively symbolises the development of a child’s brain which holds the key to the child’s future and brain stimulation is critical to help a child develop and nourish his or her potential. With these in mind, revamping the NLB’s Children’s section into a green education centre is a perfect medium to get the environmental message across to children and adults alike.
  • Aptly named “My Tree House – World’s 1st Green Library for Kids”, there are two key features in the library:

1) The “enchanted forest entrance” where one feels like you are entering into a magical forest
2) The focal point which is the “tree house” itself, strategically located at the centre of the area.

  • The main intent of the design concept is to create an enchanting and magical green space, to entice the children and make reading and learning about the environment fun, interactive and enjoyable.

Eco-friendly Design and Construction Features

  • “My Tree House”, from ceiling to floor, will be created using eco-friendly materials.
  • The tree house, as the centrepiece of the library, will be built using recycled timber for the “trunk”, the “foliage” will comprise an array of recycled items such as PVC pipes, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, and recycled paper origami.
  • LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient, enhances user comfort with less overhead glare, requires less maintenance and a greener product to manufacture, will also be used throughout the library. This will be provided by Royal Philips Electronics.
  • Low VOC (Low Volatile Compound) paints and adhesives will be used on the walls.
  • Existing bookshelves, where possible will be re-used and revamped by adding some exciting forms and features using boards, also with recyclable content.
  • The carpet, to be provided by Interface, has been specially chosen because of its green properties. The manufactured carpet tile is Greenhouse Gas-free, composing of up to 70% recyclable materials. Furthermore, no glue is required for its installation.
  • Other eco-friendly building materials such as eco-resins, recycled plastics, glass will be further explored over the design development stage to achieve a holistic green approach in the creation of the “World’s 1st Green Library For Kids”.

Key Innovative Installations

  • Shadow Play Wall

An interactive projection where children interact by “keeping still”. For example, the wall projection creates a dynamic image of a mystical forest with dandelions (imagine a scene from the film Avatar); when someone walks past, it will disrupt the glowing dandelions which fly away.

If someone stands still in front of the wall, the dandelions will rest on the silhouette. The projection programme is meant to be ambient in nature, enhancing the environment of the reading room, while subtly providing an interactive eco-experience. The programmes can be customised to be aligned to different green themes of the library services.

  • Dendrochronology

An interactive installation of the “age-rings” of a tree. These rings are formed in reaction to the environment of the room, for instance, the sound level, the temperature, humidity and so on. Each minute of human activity is recorded in this Dendro-graphic ring in real time.

Dendrochronology helps to bring across the eco-message that whatever we do, there is an environmental impact which is faithfully recorded by Nature.



  • The library will have a collection of 70,000 books suitable for children from ages 4 to 12. Books in four languages will be available.
  • A significant 30% of the collection will be green-themed books on animals, plants, nature, water, weather, environment, recycling, and climate change.
  • Customised library tours and activity sessions will be held for class visits and children of different ages.
  • Displays

For an interactive learning experience, videos and bite-sized information will be presented on digital wall displays with interactive apps.

  • eReading

Child-friendly eReading kiosks will be developed.

A selection green-themed eBooks and online resources will be provided.

Updates on latest trends in environmental conservation will be highlighted to children.

Children can expect a range of multi-sensory experiences.


  • Samples of Programmes
  • Organise a Green Mascot Design competition for primary school children on the theme of Earth Heroes in February 2013.
  • Children who complete a series of workshops, storytelling sessions, projects or craft activities, will be recognised as Earth Heroes.
  • Conduct monthly storytelling and craft-making sessions for children ages 4 to 8.
  • Talks for children on saving water and electricity in daily life.
  • Carry out monthly sessions on creating artworks using recycled materials. Different sessions will be conducted for younger children ages 4 to 8 and older children ages 9 to 12.
  • Encourage children to grow plants through a Nature in the Garden series at the two gardens in the Central Public Library.
  • Initiate guided tours to gardens and nature parks to liven up the learning experience.
  • Get parents and children to work together and create sculptures using recycled materials.

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