The Hive Learning Hub at NTU, Singapore
Within Nanyang Technological University (NTU)’s master plan, The Hive is envisioned as a showcase for modern methods of learning and teaching, fostering entrepreneurship, innovation and social awareness. Working in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio (London), CPG was the lead architect of this project. The Hive Learning Hub is emblematic of NTU’s ambitions to push the frontiers of learning and sustainability, taking higher education in Singapore to greater heights. The 8-storey building houses 56 smart classrooms where ‘pods’ stacked into towers cluster around a central space, employing ground-breaking solutions in sustainability, construction and use of materials.
The structure interweaves both social and learning spaces to create a dynamic environment more conducive to casual and incidental interaction between students and professors. Twelve towers, each a stack of rounded tutorial rooms, taper inwards at their base around a generous public central atrium to provide fifty-six tutorial rooms without corners or obvious fronts or backs. The rooms open onto the shared circulation space around the atrium, interspersed with open spaces and informal garden terraces, allowing students to be visually connected while also leaving space to linger, gather and pause.
The concrete stair and elevator cores have been embedded with 700 specially commissioned drawings, three-dimensionally cast into the concrete, referencing everything from science to art and literature. Overlapping images, specially commissioned from illustrator Sara Fanelli, are deliberately ambiguous thought triggers, designed to leave space for the imagination. The sixty one angled concrete columns have a distinctive undulating texture developed specially for the project. The curved facade panels are cast with a unique horizontal pattern, made with ten cost-efficient adjustable silicone moulds, to create a complex three-dimensional texture. The result of the building’s various raw treatments of concrete is that the whole project appears to have been handmade from wet clay.
Architectural Design, Green Design
AWARDS / YEAR
BCA Green Mark Awards 2013 (Platinum)
Innovative technology used
With year-round temperatures in Singapore between 25°C – 31°C it was important to maintain the students’ comfort whilst achieving a sustainable energy usage.
The building’s open and permeable atrium is naturally ventilated, maximising air circulation around the towers of tutorial rooms and allowing students to feel as cool as possible. Each room is cooled using silent convection, which does away with the need for energy-heavy air conditioning fans.