For his Learning Hub at Nanyang Technological University, the designer has rethought the traditional campus building
Social and learning spaces are interwoven at Thomas Heatherwick's £30m educational building at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Unveiled today, the Learning Hub is a cluster of 12 eight-storey towers made of circular concrete pods stacked on top of each other, whose resemblance to traditional dumpling steamers has already earned the building the nickname "Dim Sum".
The university asked Heatherwick Studio to rethink the traditional university building, where box-like lecture rooms are linked together by long corridors. "In the information age the most important commodity on a campus is social space to meet and bump into and learn from each other," said Heatherwick.
The rounded pods are tutorial rooms that have no corners or obvious fronts or backs, which means that tutors can configure the room as they see fit. The towers taper at their base around a central atrium, which is circled by a shared space interspersed with open areas, gardens and balconies. Their textured walls appear to have been moulded by hand from wet clay.
A full report on Heatherwick's building will appear in Icon's June issue
Images: Hufton and Crow