Incorporated in 2009, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) was established to allow polytechnic students to upgrade to specialised degree programmes, pioneering a new breed of graduates who could adapt to the evolving needs of Singapore’s economy. DP Architects was involved in the design conception and construction for three of five SIT distributed campus buildings – SIT@Singapore Polytechnic, SIT@Ngee Ann Polytechnic and SIT@Republic Polytechnic. While the buildings are set independently apart on three unique sites, they address a similar set of predetermined requirements and site constraints in relation to the existing campus. In this issue, a closer look at the design for SIT@SP and SIT@NP buildings are taken.
SIT @ Singapore Polytechnic
The SIT@SP building is sited along Dover Road and in close proximity to Dover MRT Station. Aside from the new building, the existing sports hall at Singapore Polytechnic was rebuilt as a new sports arena with augmented, comprehensive sports facilities. Belonging to two different clients, the architectural challenge was to ensure the SIT@SP building and the sports arena were designed to reflect an integrated aesthetic while retaining individual branding identities.
The site outline exerted a significant influence on the organisation of the building form. Sited on an undulating terrain, the architects constructed a series of platforms for gradual ascents, including activity decks in response, forming a new set of network linkways and bridges. The site is distinctively apportioned into four different zones – administration, teaching facilities, central plaza and sports hall. Site connectivity and internal circulation are paramount to the micro spatial organisation of the suggested programmes. The central plaza – the medial space between SIT@SP building and the sports arena – was designed as an open circulation and gathering space. Connectivity nodal points are thoughtfully dotted on the first floor, in areas with anticipated human traffic catchment. Classrooms and lecture theatres are deliberately located on the second to sixth storey.
For sustainability, pockets of open spaces were introduced to the north-south oriented building, drawing air into the internal, naturally ventilated spaces. With the adoption of building overhangs and façade recesses, solar exposure to the façade has also been minimised.
SIT @ Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Sited along the main pedestrian circulation network, SIT@NP building is effortlessly connected to the existing campus. The building is composed of eight floors of teaching facilities and administration offices, and two basement floors housing three major lecture theatres. The rectilinear block is broken up to create an H-shaped central atrium space, expanding visual connectivity between floors.
A striking red lift lobby – red is one of SIT’s corporate colours – anchors the middle of the atrium as the main vertical circulation distribution to all floors. For the interiors, the concept of a circuit board was adopted and expressed through the manipulation of material selection and spatial organisation to create a contemporary setting. Gem-like structures on the ground floor, referred to as PODs, function as multi-purpose rooms, and are intricately fabricated in glass and steel. These two elements help to characterise the atrium space as a feature spot, cultivating chance interactions.
Teaching facilities along the atrium void are designed to take full advantage of daylight, achieving uniformly distributed and glare-free lighting conditions. The main circulation corridor spaces are naturally ventilated, with prevailing wind funnelled into the atrium, and the block is intentionally oriented to the north to minimise solar exposure.
These modern educational hubs complement Singapore’s move towards innovation and technology; and the design of these SIT buildings provide a conducive environment for applied learning. While the architectural styles are international in form, the designs are conscious of its tropical locale, making use of innovative passive design strategies to ensure comfortable learning, while respecting the existing characteristics of the polytechnics they co-exist with.