The new SIT building located at the grounds of Temasek Polytechnic(TP) will house its current overseas university partners, The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). At 11,670sqm, the new building comprises five storeys of teaching facilities, academic offices, and two large lecture halls. As the new university of applied learning, SIT aspires to integrate learning, industry, and community. The building takes the form of intersecting ribbons meandering to form the roof, wall and ceiling exteriorly and interiorly. Its curvilinear exterior form contrasts starkly against the backdrop of the straight lines of the existing surrounding buildings – clearly indicating SIT’s separate corporate identity from that of TP. Interiorly, the ribbon which is painted in SIT's corporate red, turns into a ceiling and wall feature running along activated corridors and into rooms forming seating and bench tops.
The continuous ribbon feature on the exterior is clad in aluminium composite panels laid out in a linear pattern with deeply recessed grooves that highlight the curves of the ribbon. Aluminium was chosen as the material is suitable for roof cover and suspended ceilings.
It is a porous building featuring an activated groundscape connecting fluidly with three other neighbouring buildings. Playful atrium spaces enlivened with intersecting sky-bridges and a continuous ribbon ceiling feature dancing across all floors punctuate the building plan at key locations. Moving from room to room between classes, the student is always visible to their other SIT schoolmates across multi-levels promoting chance encounters and inspiring social cohesion.
The splayed layout of the corridors not only breaks the monotonous nature of the ‘double loaded corridor” but also creates the all-important informal, customisable discussion areas where learning and exchange of ideas continue outside the confines of the classroom. These areas are equipped with network connections and provided with ample writable walls and study benches.
Common spaces such as corridors and atriums, making up close to 40% of the total floor area, are naturally-ventilated as part of a sustainable design. Sky terraces located at 3rd, 4th and 5th levels not only bring welcome greenery relief to the building’s occupants but also help to reduce thermal heat transfer.
The building is situated at the rear of the campus with its longest facade facing Bedok Reservoir. If maximised, the 90m long façade would completely block the reservoir views and wind to the campus buildings located directly behind SIT. Massive ‘view cone’ openings in the main façade allowed views and light through the building but also cleverly ensured that most SIT facilities face the reservoir to take advantage of the scenic location. This is apparent on plan resulting in the splay form of the finger blocks at the rear skewed towards the best views.
Passive displacement ventilation is provided for all project rooms; a strategy where conditioned outdoor air is supplied at floor level and extracted above the occupied zone in a convection flow leading to greater occupant comfort. The building has won a Greenmark Platinum Award at the BCA Awards.
Forum Architects is an architectural practice in Singapore, founded by Tan Kok Hiang and Ho Sweet Woon in 1994. They are committed to sensible design and quality detailing for bold but appropriate building solutions. Their project, Assyafaah Mosque was exhibited in the 2004 Venice Biennale and won at the 2004 Architecture+ Award in Dubai and the Chicago Anthenaeum Award in 2008. Their project, Maxwell Chambers won the Chicago Anthenaeum Award in 2010, and Yale-NUS College in 2016. Other award winning projects are Henderson Community Club(1999), Wilby House(2000), Boon Tat Street Offices(2001), Bukit Timah NUS Law Faculty(2007). The Singapore Embassy in Philippines won an Honorary Mention in the Singapore’s President’s Design Award in 2008, and Mr Tan Kok Hiang won the Designer of the Year in the Singapore's President's Design Award in 2014. Regional and international articles have been published on their works including three projects in the Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture.