Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

National University of Singapore High School, Singapore, Singapore

Exemplary design categories: flexible learning settings, science laboratories, sporting facilities, technology rich

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The design aims to create a stimulating environment that supports project- and enquiry-based learning, where the building is conceived as a three-dimensional tool that forms an active part of learning, and is no longer just a passive container of activities. The school is also a place where students come together to socialise and form friendships. Various social hubs and gathering spaces have been integrated within the school complex to help foster a sense of community between students.

Flexible future school needs to be flexible so that it can evolve over time and change easily in response to pedagogical developments. All science laboratories are located on one level linked to the concourse, which is conceived as a “free” space, easily converted to accommodate study benches, learning pods and science exhibitions. The classrooms are designed in modular pairs. The standard module allows rooms to be inter-convertible, and the pairing allows two rooms to be combined to accommodate different learning modes and settings when the need arises. The architect allowed for future expansion by planning for 10 additional classrooms.

Special features of the school reflect the scientific and mathematical worlds - the school thus serves as a learning tool in itself. These include The Observatory has a 14 –inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a state-of-the-art star tracking and navigation system. It is equipped with a host of other accessories including a complete array of eyepieces, color filters, polarizer, solar filters and CCD cameras. The observatory will eventually be able to provide a live telecast of the various celestial bodies via internet connection. The NUS High School observatory provides the most avid stargazers among the student population a most satisfying experience. The Nanotube , located near the driveway to the main administration block, is a prominent cylindrical structure, with an outer coat of vivid turquoise that greets visitors arriving from Clementi Avenue 1. Detailed to represent a magnified segment of an exposed carbon nanotube, with its combination of hexagonal lattice and metal mesh colored in dark grey, it embodies one of the most recent scientific discoveries. Nanotubes exhibit extraordinary strength. Elements of the periodic table are color-represented in the curtain glass wall located at the main road facing the facade of the administration and auditorium building block. The Numbers of Pi are shown in the colour permutations of the aluminum perforated panels located above the concourse. The Pi numbers shown are limited up to the extent of coverage. The aluminum panels are not only a mathematical indication of the infinite Pi but serves a practical architectural feature as well, in providing shade from the tropical sun and reducing the extent of rain water entering into the concourse space. DNA components: Adeline guanine, cytosine and thymine serve as inspiration for the false ceiling structures that highlight the double volume space of the large multi-function Concourse. The Concourse is a main thoroughfare that links up all the school blocks.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The architect worked with the principal, staff and professors from the university from the onset of the project to clarify the brief. Hands-on workshop sessions were conducted with the architect and these stakeholders, to explore learning ideas and how they can be translated into architecture in order for the building itself to be used as a learning tool.

Activity Areas: 50 classrooms, Science Labs, Computer Labs, Arts & Craft Rooms, Music Rooms, AVA Rooms, Home Economics Rooms, Creativity Workshop, Lecture Theatre, 700-seat auditorium, Office, Staff Room, Library, Hall, Track and Field, Canteen, Basketball, Volleyball and Tennis Courts, Hostel

Project costs: SGD 40,000,000.00

Source: 3rd CELE Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities (2006)

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Images (7)

Drawings (9)

Building Plan_1st Storey (Registration required)
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Building Plan_2nd Storey (Registration required)
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Building Plan 3rd Storey (Registration required)
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Building Plan 4th Storey (Registration required)
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Building Plan Basement (Registration required)
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Building Plan - 5th Storey (Registration required)
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Furniture Plan - Flexible classroom (Registration required)
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Credit: CPG Consultants Pte Ltd
Location plan (Registration required)
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Credit: CPG Consultants Pte Ltd
Furniture plan - Flexiconcourse (Registration required)
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Credit: CPG Consultants Pte Ltd