The Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), designed by Heatherwick Studio and executed by lead architect CPG Consultants, is a new educational landmark for Singapore. As part of NTU’s redevelopment plan for the campus, the Learning Hub is designed to be a new multi-use building for its 33,000 students.
Instead of the traditional format of an educational building with miles of corridors linking box-like lecture rooms, the university asked for a unique design better suited to contemporary ways of learning. With the digital revolution allowing learning to take place almost anywhere, the most important function of this new university building was to be a place where students and professors from various disciplines could meet and interact with one other. The Learning Hub is envisioned to be a place where students might meet their future business partner or someone they would have an amazing idea with.
The outcome is a structure that 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 new-generation smart classrooms were conceived by NTU to support its new learning pedagogies that promote more interactive small group teaching and active learning. The flexible format of the rooms allows professors to configure them to better engage their students, and for students to more easily collaborate with each other.
The rooms in turn 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. NTU Professor Kam Chan Hin, Senior Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education) says, “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.”