Singapore’s fifth Republic Polytechnic has reconfigured its pedagogy to espouse discussion and group collaboration, replacing lecture-based learning with interactive learning as a strategy for breeding the next generation as one of robust thinkers. The architecture and planning of Republic Polytechnic’s new campus has responded to this educational agenda, leading to new formal ideas and an innovative institutional design soluti¬on.
In alignment with Republic Polytechnic’s pedagogy, architects of its new campus have integrated the concept of the ‘Agora’— an open forum initially constructed in ancient Greece which played a critical role as a platform for social and academic discourse. In following, the Agora forms the foundational programmatic layer of the Republic Polytechnic campus, taking shape amongst a collection of gathering spaces: micro-climatic pockets of manicured courtyards and ground-level terraces responsive to changes in the terrain. Above the Agora a second layer, the ‘Lawn’, serves to unify the campus’ many buildings within an elevated landscaped commons for informal student and staff interaction. The Lawn also functions as the reference plane for circulation and orientation, overlaid with a central boulevard that establishes a main axis for the development.
Two networks of campus facilities are organised about this double-layer base. The first is a nucleus of academic structures embedded directly within the Lawn. This comprises of a complex of 11 ‘learning pods’ and a central administration space with laboratories, studios, workshops, meeting rooms and staff offices. The second network is an outer ring of satellite buildings that houses staff residences, a sports hall, an energy centre, a cultural centre and a student services centre, all connected via bridges back to the internal academic nucleus. Programmed with public arts and cultural venues, the ancillary ring serves as an interface with the surrounding residential and industrial community.
Sustainable design techniques are integral to the project. The Lawn, for instance, doubles as a green roof for the Agora level below and performs as an extension to the adjacent regional park. The campus is orientated to maximise daylight efficiency, while building foundations respond to the topography for minimal site cut and fill.
Designed in collaboration with Maki and Associates, Japan.