Edward Cullinan and Partners aims to recreate a little of the atmosphere and the internal courtyard model of the famous nineteenth-century Raffles Hotel in its £400 million, 288,000m 2masterplan for a new campus for the Singapore Management University.
Project architect Roddy Langmuir told the AJ that the scheme will draw on the hotel's use of open cloisters and planting and echo some of Singapore's early colonial buildings, letting light in but addressing humid local conditions by allowing air to move around the buildings.
The project, won in competition against 400 initial applications and a shortlist of six - including Australian firm Cox Architects, US outfit Perkins and Will and Singapore practice DP Architects, is an attempt to 'stitch' a new campus into the city on a site historically associated with education.
The site connects a hotel and cultural district with the main shopping area around Orchard Road and the financial district. It also neatly fits between key buildings such as the Singapore Art Museum, Cathedral, and National Museum, and comprises six main new buildings forming a loose L-shape. At the apex of the 'L', said Langmuir, will be a new station hub for a metro line being built to serve the art museum and university buildings. Further complications will come from the fact that existing lines pass under the site, as will a new road tunnel to cut the area's traffic.
The environmental strategy is to create 'thermal comfort conditions' through natural means as far as possible to reduce the air conditioning load and to put the building 'back in touch with the climate' in contrast with the prevalence of US-style buildings in the rest of the city. 'Breezeways'will enable air movement to counter humidity in transitional spaces - materials to be used may include terracotta and glass.
Consultants include WSP Environmental, Atelier One, and Grant Associates on landscaping, along with local architect KNTA Architects.