Photos courtesy of Hufton and Crow
The studio was asked by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore to design a building suited to the needs of students in the 21st century.
With so much information available on the internet, the university recognised the need to redefine the physical space of the university now that it is no longer the sole repository of knowledge. The studio understood the contemporary university to be a space for meeting people, and designed a building to facilitate that as much as possible.
The Learning Hub opened in March 2015. It is composed of twelve towers, each a stack of corner-less classrooms intended to foster collaborative learning. The towers are arranged around a central atrium space, which provides sunlight, visibility, and a sense of openness. This interweaving of social and learning spaces creates a dynamic environment and encourages interaction between students and professors.
The studio kept construction costs down with a series of re-usable silicon moulds that add variety and shape to the concrete. The columns, for example, have an undulating surface that makes them more tactile. To make each facade panel unique, the studio developed a modular system in which rubber strips of different sizes could be inserted and removed; the panels were then curved in ten different gradations to clad the rounded classrooms. A third set of moulds were used on the interior wall panels, which were pigmented and embedded with 700 drawings by the illustrator Sara Fanelli.
The Learning Hub’s environmental credentials earned it Green Mark Platinum status, the highest environmental rating in Singapore.