The ‘good school’? It starts with a beautiful school, the architecture of the places and facilities for training.
The Learning Hub, designed by the London-based studio of Thomas Heatherwick for the campus of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, rethinks the way people work in a school “starting precisely with the architecture, conceived as a construction laboratory of the future,” says the architect.
The building, for 33,000 students, is not organized according to the usual orthogonal patterns and standard arrangements of classrooms and corridors, but is made like a ‘necklace’ of soaring semicircular towers in exposed concrete (twelve of them) connected by an inner open-air courtyard.
“It is an introverted space in which the forms are defined by the lecture halls and workshops that face internal balconies along each of the eight floors.”
Why this unusual configuration? “The digital revolution has radically changed our ways of teaching and learning. I liked the idea of a place where students and teachers could meet and interact in a circular way, sharing a central atrium conceived as a piazza, taken to the fluid dimension of the present.”
The first challenge was to give beauty to the concrete, a rugged but honest material, thanks to a special undulated texture, also incorporating the air conditioning and lighting systems.
The results are a success. The ‘workshop’ of the English designer develops innovative concepts, from the redesign of London buses to the British Pavilion for Expo in Shanghai, always working outside normal schemes.
photos by Sergio Pirrone – text by Antonella Boisi