In a competition to design a "Learning Hub" for students at Nanyang University in Singapore, London-based firm Heatherwick Studio has won with a rounded, hive-like design. The £360 million project has won the BCA Green Mark Platinum Award for Sustainability from the government of Singapore.
The architects said that the design is meant to transcend the original purpose of a university building, redefining the spaces where students collaborate.
Rather than a building principally meant to house educational texts, they sought to design an appealing place for students to work and socialize, given the fact that the Internet makes it possible for educational information to be accessed outside of university buildings.
Fifty-six rooms will be condensed into a space with no conventional corridors, and will center around an area that can be entered from 360 degrees, Arch Daily reports. This central space will link all of the structure's separate towers, which contain classrooms stacked upon one another. Selected floors will also feature gardens.
"Another inspiration for the hub was a wish to break down the traditional, square, forward-facing classrooms with a clear front and hierarchy, and move to a cornerless space, where teachers and students mix on a more equal basis," Heatherwick Studio said in a statement.
"In this model, students work together around shared tables, with teacher as facilitator and partner in the voyage of learning, rather than ‘master’ executing a top-down model of pedagogy."
Heatherwick will work with local architects CPG Consultants to fully realize the Learning Hub. All renderings courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.