The Campus that Nurtures Cross-Disciplinary Interface
The academic campus for the Singapore University of Technology and Design is located on a site of approx. 83,000 sq metre focuses on connectivity, between students, the professional world and the community at large.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) was conceived as a driver of technological innovation and economic growth, with the academic campus acting as both a catalyst and a conveyor for advancement by bringing together people, ideas and innovation.
The campus was designed in a way that it directly reflects SUTD’s curriculum, using the creative enterprise of the school to facilitate a cross-disciplinary interface: interaction is established between the professional world, the campus, and the community at large. The design for the academic campus was an opportunity to embrace innovation and creativity through a non-linear connective relationship between students, faculty, professionals and the spaces they interact with.
According to UNStudio, Founder Architect, Ben van Berkel: “The design for the SUTD consciously avoids over-articulation and instead focusses on infrastructural qualities, on connectivity and the creation of an open, transparent and light facility that responds to the requirements of the contemporary campus. In this way the architecture of the SUTD does not attempt to overwhelm the students with a singular vision, it instead enables them to develop their own architectural language for the future.”
Five years of being used as a Campus that nurtures future innovators, the design has become an integral part of the vision of the University. According to the design team, “We actually see many posts made by students on social media that give us a very clear indication of how the spaces in the design work. This has been very encouraging.”
According to a student, the design is part of the experience at SUTD. The buildings, the interactive spaces connecting them, the programmes along with the interactions and communication makes life at the Campus an unforgettable event.
The campus facilitates cross-disciplinary interaction among all four pillars of academia that is offered by the University which is interlaced with Humanities, Arts and Social Science curriculum and research. Following the master plan, the academic campus is designed through two main axes: the living and learning spines, which overlap to create a central point and bind together all corners of the campus.
UNStudio has designed a flexible space for exhibitions, events and interaction at the central node: this Campus Centre forms the intellectual heart of the campus and directly links the main programmatic anchors of the auditorium, the International Design Centre and the library.
The spatial configuration of the academic campus generates a seamless network of education, a 24/7 campus which enhances direct interaction through both proximity and transparency.
Ben van Berkel says, “From the exterior the SUTD academic buildings look like somewhat dense, separate blocks, but they are in fact experienced in a completely connected and open way. By introducing diagonal and framed view corridors, vertical and horizontal connections and covered walkways and by tapering the elevations of the buildings, openness is created that means the buildings are experienced as a connected whole. Traditional divisions between rooms and corridors are also dissolved, resulting in flexible spaces and encouraging movement throughout the buildings.”
The SUTD is a highly sustainable building, incorporating numerous passive design strategies designed to counteract the conditions caused by Singapore’s tropical climate. Based on extensive orientation and wind studies natural ventilation principles are applied throughout the design, alongside cooling techniques, covered walkways, louvred facade shading, open voids, extensive daylight to the interiors and protection from heavy rain showers.
The overall design forms a response to the natural landscape of Singapore, both through colour application and through the incorporation of facade planters, green roof terraces and sky gardens and numerous green pockets planted with native trees and flowering plants.
Collaboration between students and faculty is facilitated through informal meeting and working spaces, while flexible classrooms and laboratories enable different arrangements in order to satisfy varying lecture or workshop approaches to teaching. Group gathering and social spaces are provided, as well as quiet spaces for individual study.
Gross Floor Area – Phase 1: 106,000 m2
Site Area of Academic zone: approx. 83,000 m2
Programme: University Campus
Status: Phase 1 completed 2015Credits
Singapore-based Architect: DP Architects Pte Ltd, SingaporeCredits Supporting consultants
Project management: PM Link Pte Ltd, Singapore
Civil & structure: Parsons Brinckerhoff PTE, Singapore
M&E and Q&S: CPG Consultants Pte Ltd., Singapore
Landscape: Surbana International Consultants Pte Ltd., Singapore
Façade: Arup Singapore Pte Ltd
Acoustics: Acviron Acoustics Consultants Pte Ltd,
Lighting design: Lighting Planners Associates (S) Pte Ltd., SingaporeContractor