Learning Hub

by | 17. Jan 2016

Educational | Project
01_Learning Hub_Surrounding context of the Learning Hub_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

The Learning Hub, a mixed use building that encourages social interaction and collaborative learning. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

By Nina Tory-Henderson

Heatherwick Studio’s Learning Hub, a new multi-use building for Singapore’s NTU university, responds to the transforming role of the university campus in the 21st century.

The ways in which students use and access educational facilities and information has drastically changed in a short period of time, leaving many university campuses outdated for contemporary modes of learning. When entire degrees are now completed online, the campus is no longer the primary site for educational resources. A shift is needed in the way we design universities to reassess the critical resources the campus can provide today.

The Learning Hub embraces this shift, recognising the most important asset of the campus in the information age – social space. The new mixed use building provides spaces for students to gather informally, encouraging social encounter and interaction across disciplines. The design challenges traditional university environments of ‘miles of corridors linking box-like lecture rooms’  which can be socially isolating, individualistic learning environments.

02_Learning Hub_Learning Hub atrium space_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

The central atrium acts as a social space, with all classrooms opening onto it. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

The new Learning Hub provides an exciting mix of learning, community and recreational spaces for NTU students, professors and researchers from various disciplines to gather and interact. By bringing people and their ideas together, NTU can spark future innovations and new knowledge that increasingly happen at the intersection of disciplines.”
/NTU Professor Kam Chan Hin, Singapore

Heatherwick Studio embraced the client’s innovative ambitions for the building, a successful synthesis with the studios exploratory design process. ‘At the heart of the studio’s work is a profound commitment to finding innovative design solutions… This is achieved through a working methodology of collaborative rational inquiry, undertaken in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.’

Heatherwick Studio embraced the client’s innovative ambitions for the building, a successful synthesis with the studios exploratory design process. ‘At the heart of the studio’s work is a profound commitment to finding innovative design solutions… This is achieved through a working methodology of collaborative rational inquiry, undertaken in a spirit of curiosity and experimentation.’

03_Learning Hub_View from level seven to level one_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

The central atrium creates strong visual connections through the entire building. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

The 12 towers are made up of stacked classrooms, designed to blur the hierarchy between teacher and student divisions. There is no discernible front and back of the room, encouraging a more interactive environment, opposed to the top-down model of pedagogy. The classroom spaces are interwoven with intimate nooks, planted balconies and large circulation areas that act as social gathering space and are seen as equally important informal learning environments.

05_Learning Hub_Classroom interior with passive ventilation system_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

An interactive classroom design with shared working spaces. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

06_Learning Hub_Full height atrium-facing classroom windows_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

Learning spaces are made visible with folded glass panels. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

The central open atrium not only acts as a visual connector between classrooms, circulation core and gathering space, but also naturally ventilates the building – an important climatic strategy in a region with year round temperatures of 25 – 31 degrees celcius. Among other sustainability strategies, this awarded the building a Green Mark Platinum status, the highest possible environmental standard for a building of this type.

04_Learning Hub_View from the atrium at level one upwards_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

The central atrium provides natural ventilation and lighting. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

Local building codes dictated that the building was necessarily a robust concrete structure. Heatherwick studios dedication to craftsmanship and material potentials reveals itself in the sensitive treatment of this structure.  Each circulation core has commissioned illustrations by artist Sara Fanelli cast into their concrete walls. The structural columns have been treated with a distinct undulating texture and the facade with a horizontal striped pattern, both developed specifically for the project. The custom treatment of the concrete  adds a layer of tactility to the project, the entire building appearing to be ‘handmade from wet clay’.

07_Learning Hub_Sara Fanelli load-bearing core walls_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

Cast illustrations by Sara Fanelli. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

08_Learning Hub_One of twelve access points with balcony detail_CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

Curved facade panels cast with custom horizontal pattern. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

09_Learning Hub_Evening view of the Learning Hub _CREDIT_Hufton and Crow.jpg

The Learning Hub by night. Photograph by Hufton and Crow.

10_Learning Hub_Plan L01_CREDIT_HeatherwickStudio-01.jpg

Ground floor plan. Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

11_Learning Hub_Plan L04_CREDIT_Heatherwick Studio-01.jpg

4th floor plan. Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

12_Learning Hub_Plan L08_CREDIT_HeatherwickStudio-01.jpg

8th floor plan. Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

13_Learning Hub_Section_CREDIT_Heatherwick Studio-01.jpg

Site section. Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio.

INFORMATION

CITYSingapore
ARCHITECTCPG Consulatnats

CLIENT

CONTRACTOR