A homage to great feats of design, building, and engineering
The recently completed School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore won the 2007 Design Share Honor Award for its organic composition, particularly its turfed roofs, which successfully enables the building to blend into the surrounding landscape and further blur the line between the natural and the structural. The building’s skeleton consists almost entirely of concrete, while its skin is composed mainly of sheets of grey-tinted glass that act as mirrors during the day, reflecting the campus’ wooded areas, grassy roofs, and the sky above, seeming to cause the building to disappear into a grassy knoll. At night when all the building’s lights are on, the opposite forces are at work, transforming the building into a beacon of light that illuminates the surrounding area.
The building’s designers, CPG Corporation Consultants, were given the unique challenge to give physicality to the art department’s values of uniqueness and creativity. The University wanted a building that was conducive to the free flow of ideas as well as to education, and the new structure accomplishes just that: epitomizing originality, while giving both professors and students unobstructed views of the outdoors, as well as unique spaces for work, study, or research. The structure’s extraordinarily designed interior is a credit to the designers’ genius. They craftily used the 5-story, heavily sloping roof to their advantage, creating classrooms and offices of a variety of shapes and sizes, which are easily adaptable for a variety of artistic pursuits.
Although the entire structure is a wonderful example of extraordinary design, my favorite feature is the way the designers chose not to impose a building on the landscape, but to make it apart of the terrain. From any angle you choose to look at the building, you see a bright verdant slope that invites exploration, and the building’s rooftops feature cement steps along its edges for just such purposes. In addition to aiding in its blending, the grassy roof also assists in keeping the building and the immediate area cooler, than if it was just a glass structure sitting in the middle of the campus, which is a very positive side effect to thinking green.
The School in Daylight
The School in Twilight
To find out more information on Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art, Design, and Media, visit DesignFlute.