Environment where we spend most of our time greatly influences us; learning space not being an exception. Well planned and interesting setting, which takes into account our requirements, makes us open to the idea of studying and working. Space like this is created in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; while working on this project designer Thomas Heatherwick started thinking outside the box literary and figuratively.
Thomas Heatherwick is a famous English designer, who soon became popular with his original ideas. While working on projects he’s known for his innovative approach and using newest materials. Thomas’ most notorious works are: Seed Cathedral at Shanghai Expo 2010 and new design of red double-decker bus in London.
Heatherwick Studio began working on university’s design after winning a competition in August, 2012.It was completed in March, 2015. Architect collaborated with local firm „CPG Consultants“- Heatherwick Studio was responsible for the design, while CPG Consultants led the construction.
University building consists of 8 stories and is 38.8 m in height, site area is 2000 sq.m. and gross floor area is approximately 14000 sq.m. This project is just a part of grand scheme of Nanyang Technological University, which has over 33000 students and is one of the biggest universities in Singapore.
Heatherwick truly showed his talent of creating something altogether different while working on this project. He didn’t want the building to have standard box like auditoriums, this is why university is in 12 cone-like towers with 56 circular rooms. Designer says that in this environment everyone sits in equal conditions. There is no obvious front or back sits, which is good for learning process, students get used to collaboration, working, learning in groups, with each other and with teacher too. Towers surround an atrium; on every floor there are open air corridors and balconies, which get larger towards the top and offer excellent view over the atrium. You can find small gardens on some floors too. The whole space is naturally ventilated, allowing the air to circulate throughout freely; because of climate in Singapore, this is definitely a good choice.
Towers stand on 61 concrete columns and their surface is undulating, walls close to stair and elevator are covered with over 700 drawings. Illustrations belong to Sara Fanelli and there are images from science, art and literature on them. Towers’ facade is curved, covered with irregular horizontal stripes. They were created 10 silicone molds and clay. Students can enter the central space, which connects towers, from every direction.
In 2013 building was awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for sustainability by the Singaporean government.
University is first serious project in Asia for Heatherwick Studio. Thomas wanted to create studying space, where there would be good environment for social relations; which young people are definitely lacking because of modern technology and the rapid pace of life.
Author: Meri Khamkhadze