Broadway Malyan’s school of the future
Due for completion in 2020, the Nexus International School, located in Aljunied, central Singapore, is bringing tech to education in the form of radio frequency identification for students and staff, Apple TV, cashless card systems and more.
Global architecture practice, Broadway Malyan, won the commission to design the S$232m (£133m) project from one of Asia’s largest education organisations, Taylor’s Education group, which operates several international schools, colleges and universities across South-East Asia.
A ceremony to mark the building reaching its highest point during construction was held on the 9th January.
A vertical campus
The concept is for a ‘vertical campus’ that will have a primary school on the lower floors and the secondary school on the higher floors with space for 2,000 students ranging in age from 3 to 18, and will be open to the local community outside school hours and at weekends.
Facilities include an outdoor astro turf sports pitch and swimming pool, public realm, a café, library, auditorium, two sports halls as well as adaptable learning spaces.
A ‘mega’ lab on one of the highest floors provides an environment that reflects the qualities of a commercial lab. The vertical nature of the school also lends itself to a number of rooftop gardens and terraces.
On the canal side, the campus opens up, integrating itself into the local community with a link to the park to provide access for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as an entrance for the community who have access to facilities out-of-hours.
Microcosm of a smart city
Broadway Malyan’s approach was to create a school that is a microcosm of a successful smart city where services and spaces are fully integrated and in tune with their wider environment.
Planned to be an Apple Distinguished School, digital technology will be an integral part of the curriculum delivery with the latest technology in learning spaces from mobile smart projectors, Apple TV, cashless card systems, GPS tracking for school transport and radio frequency identification for all students and staff.
The cafeteria and playdeck will be a learning environment for students with herb gardens, aquaponics and rain water harvesting, connecting back to the kitchens where food is prepared. To deal with kitchen waste, Broadway Malyan has proposed a digester which converts food waste into fertiliser for the landscaping.
Modelled and coordinated in Revit, Autodesk’s BIM (an intelligent 3D model-based process) software for architects, the project is one of the first to be submitted for planning in 3D in Singapore. As part of the Building & Construction Authority pilot scheme for productivity innovation, the project has the potential to set new standards in BIM workflow for Singapore.
Although technology is important, Broadway Malyan prioritised the inclusion of flexible spaces to promote and support human interaction. The school is designed around a ‘structural grid’ on a large floor plate to maximise flexibility in recognition of the various and changing needs of students and teachers.
Classrooms will not be closed off completely, instead modified furniture with acoustic panelling will be used to create spaces of the size required for each class, future proofing the school by making it easy to adapt to new trends.
Harry Hoodless, board director at Broadway Malyan said: “I totally resonated with the school, it’s speaking the language that I’ve been speaking for a long time. With the current technology, everything is Apple TV – it’s all wireless, it’s easy. You don’t need as much wired infrastructure, it frees up the space for more interesting social activities, for more human interaction, that’s the benefit of technology. It’s the opposite of what people think a techy space is going to be, it’s portable.”
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