Latitude/Longitude: 1.30306, 103.852
Following the Singapore government’s plan to re-site LASALLE College of the Arts from the Goodman Road campus to the city area, a 2-stage international architectural competition was organised to search for a world-class design for the New City Campus. The competition brief called for a 35,000 sqm new campus built on a 1-Ha city site at the Rochor area in the heart of Singapore’s Arts, Culture, Learning & Entertainment hub.
LASALLE College of the Arts locates itself within the city by embracing the city’s diversity. The location of the campus programmatically defines a mediation zone between the public space of the city and the private space of the campus. Within the city, the Institution can be seen in the urban context as a city block. This gives it the sense of presence, allowing it to be a focal point for the area.
The design seeks to create a level of porosity and interaction between the city and the institution, to enable public engagement of the Institution’s art activities while simultaneously drawing on the rich resources of the urban context and its central locality. The interface layers between the Institution and the city inadvertently includes them as part of the whole creative process. The sculpting of the blocks is likened to that of a canyon where the alleys are sculpted by nature’s process of carving. This sculpting of the internal spaces releases interactive surfaces to the city. The continual carving process shapes the way interaction between the public and the Institution can take place. The campus’s connectivity, accessibility, orientation and scale, allow the dissipation of the students and their activities into the city and permeate into the larger community. The inclined glass panels of the organic internal façade allow large amounts of daylight to filter into the rooms. The city life is reflected onto kaleidoscopic façade, forming a vibrant backdrop to the activities within.
The INTERFACES at ground level establish programmatic and visual links between these 2 entities. Split over the ground and lower ground levels they define a THICKENED GROUND ZONE from which the public activities of the campus and the city can take place. The ground opens up to draw visitors inward while it also eases the students to the next level.
The opportunity to utilize unusual locations as performance platforms is invaluable in an arts school environment. This opportunity is realized by the event bridges that link the different blocks within the campus. The bridges, with their flexible spaces, take on different characteristics and provide the unique backdrops for performances.
A cluster of sculpted blocks arranged around a central public social space defines the form of the campus. The carving of the blocks reflects the existing city fabric through the Urban Alleys and both the City and Campus Courts, which gives the campus its ground porosity. Spatially this defines the ART CANYON with an organic internal active façade and a more solid external passive façade. 3 different modular sized windows articulate this external passive façade. The largest openings are mostly at lower levels. They allow for a window seat or a display ledge. The medium-sized openings are for viewing out of the rooms framing the city at eye level. The smallest openings are grouped together to allow light into the rooms or to create visual relief. These openings combined together create the visual interest of the school for the city and frame the school’s view of the city.
LASALLE College of the Arts is envisioned as an amalgamation of various creative disciplines within a singular complex while allowing each discipline to maintain its own unique identity. The campus forms the melting pot for the diverse art forms and culture exchange between the students and the public in the city.
⇒ Architecture Guide to SINGAPORE