This project is a specialist high school for the visual and performing arts. The school is located in the heart of Singapore’s Civic district, at the gateway to the Arts and Entertainment district. The school combines a high-density, inner-city school with a professional performing arts venue. The design is a new paradigm, a large, dense, perforated urban object that achieves natural light and ventilation to all areas, despite its deep dimensions.
The design strategy creates two visually connected horizontal strata, a space for public communication below, and a space for safe, controlled interaction above. This strategy solves the twin objectives of porosity and communication with the public and wider arts community on the one hand, and a secure and safe learning environment on the other. The two parts are called the Backdrop and the Blank Canvas.
The Backdrop is the podium that contains a concert hall, drama theatre, black box theatre and several small informal performing spaces. Against this backdrop, the school communicates with the public realm. The high volume, naturally-ventilated informal spaces in between the performance spaces are designed around an urban short-cut, thereby allowing the public to see the activities of the school. A civic amphitheatre has been created under conserved trees, and is very popular. Architecturally, the Backdrop is designed as a faceted sculptural space, which frames the surrounding city views in new and interesting ways.
The Blank Canvas is the secured school area, and is a simple, flexible space. The metaphor suggests the open possibilities and focus on the educational content rather than the architectural frame. Three long rectangular blocks have a secured point of access yet are visually connected from all the circulation spaces, to the public areas below. This environment is simple, practical, bright, airy and is designed for maximum flexibility and sustainability. Classrooms, studios and circulation are all naturally ventilated, with dynamic visual and physical links between blocks. The green façades are environmental filters, cutting out glare and dust, keeping the rooms cool, and in combination with the acoustic ceilings, absorb traffic noise.
The School of the Arts is a “Machine for Wind”, designed to channel and intensify Singapore’s very light breezes through shaded, sheltered gathering and social spaces to provide a delightful and safe environment for children in the inner city. The breezeways in-between the blocks are designed for maximum comfort and interaction, providing spaces for different sized groups to interact and relax. The wind-directing design has proven to be successful and extremely comfortable, with constant cooling breezes despite Singapore’s low air movement, high humidity outdoor environment. The rooftop is designed as a large recreation park in the sky and incorporates a 400m running track.
Project Title: School of the Arts, Singapore
Project Location: 1, Zubir Said Drive, Singapore 227968
Competition: April 2005
Commissioned/Designed: August 2005
Tender: April 2006
Start of Construction: April 2007
Partial Completion (Upper Levels / Academic Floors): December 2009
Partial Completion (Lower Levels / Performance Arts Centers): Oct 2010
Main Contract: $122,388,000.00
Piling Contract: $8,954,669.38
Both Combined: $131,342,669.38
Size Gross Floor Area: 52,945.54 m2
Size Plot Area: 10,602.94 m2
Project Team: Wong Mun Summ, Richard Hassell, Sim Choon Heok, Chan Ee Mun, Esther Soh, Ian Donlan, Teh Tien Hwa, Alina Yeo, Burapa Prommul, Kwong Lay Lay, Nixon Jose Sicat, Alen Low, Christina Ong, Evi Syariffudin, Germain Goh, Merlinda Song, Muhammad Halim Bin Wahab, Ong Ker Shing, Pamela Choo, Sabrina Foong
Client: Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts
Mechanical & Electrical Engineers: Lincolne Scott Ng Pte Ltd
Civil & Structural Engineers: WorleyParsons Pte Ltd
Quantity Surveyors: Rider Levett Bucknall
Landscape Architect: Cicada Private Limited
Theatre Acoustics: Arup Acoustics/Theatreplan LLP
Architectural Lighting: Lighting Planners Associates
Traffic Engineering: Duffill Watts Pte Ltd
Fire Safety: Arup Fire (S) Pte Ltd
Arborist: ArborCulture Pte Ltd
Land Surveyor: Tang Tuck Kim Surveyor
Others: LSW Consulting Engineers, AUP Consultants
Main Contractor: Tiong Aik Construction Pte Ltd
Piling Contractor: ZAP Piling Pte Ltd
Service Trench Contractor: Hao Da Pte Ltd
Road Widening Contractor: First Civil Engineering Pte Ltd
Nominated Sub-contractors/ Suppliers: Schindler Lifts (S) Pte Ltd - Lift Subcontractor, Gennal Industries Pte Ltd - ACMV Subcontractor, Kimta Electric Pte Ltd - Electrical Subcontractor, Chubb Singapore Pte Ltd - Fire Subcontractor, Hock Po Leng Landscape & Construction Pte Ltd – Landscape Subcontractor
The total site area: 10,657.44 sq m
The total floor area of each development: 52,986.97sqm (GFA)
The total area of greenroof/roof-gardens: 6,061sqm (roof terrace level)
The date of installation/completion: 22 Dec 2009 (TOP for academic floors only)
Any outstanding key feature (especially pertaining skyrise greenery): Facade Creepers