A Univer-City rises
New master plan will transform NTU’s main campus into a mini city, promote cross-varsity and industry interaction and support new pedagogical needs
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) today unveiled its Yunnan Garden Campus Master Plan, which will transform the campus – the largest in Singapore at 200 hectares – into a mini city.
When fully completed, it will have a number of trendy meeting points dotting the landscape to encourage cross-campus chats. Walk into one of these and you will be able to have a conversation with a student, professor or researcher from another discipline or school.
Elaborating on a key guiding tenet of the Master Plan, Professor Bertil Andersson, President-Designate and Provost of NTU, said, “Such common spaces will help to break down psychological ‘glass walls’, and encourage people of different research interests and disciplines to get to know one another better. In this way, everyone will benefit from the cross-fertilisation of ideas that springs from unexpected connections across the sciences. This is something that is becoming increasingly important as new knowledge comes from the overlaps between disciplines. From here Singapore's first Nobel Prize winner could well discover his ‘Eureka!’ moment.”
To create a melting pot of diverse talents across disciplines is in line with the NTU 2015 five-year strategic blueprint announced in November 2010. As part of this blueprint, NTU will put its global stamp in five areas known as the Five Peaks of Excellence. The five interdisciplinary areas are Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road and Innovation Asia.
Dr Su Guaning, NTU President said, “The Master Plan complements NTU’s 2015 strategic blueprint that drives our aspiration to become a great global university. The Master Plan not only addresses the physical needs of NTU in terms of its natural and built environment, but also acknowledges our need to adapt to changing pedagogical requirements, and to develop facilities that can sustain new forms of teaching and research well into the future. The plan recognises and honours our legacy, develops exciting options and possibilities for our students, faculty and the external community, and provides for our development far into the future.”
Today, NTU is already a cosmopolitan hub of 33,000 students and 3,000 faculty and researchers from more than 70 countries. Future visitors to the new Univer-City can expect to find retail shops, cafes and restaurants, and even a pub and cinema in this self-contained campus, together with its existing conveniences.
These will be at the new Campus Centre, which will become the heart of NTU. A road near the School of Art, Design and Media leading to the Administration Building will be transformed into a pedestrian promenade. The Campus Centre will create a ribbon of diverse meeting places, with academic, social and residential facilities located alongside each other.
Connecting with Nature
No concrete jungle, this will be a vibrant Univer-City with a soul. Today, the Yunnan Campus is already home to a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna. The Campus Master Plan aims to enhance this even further with additional plants and landscaping. Providing soup for the soul, new blue spaces will be created to add to the green. All these will provide the NTU community with a myriad of opportunities to connect with Mother Nature.
The open lush greenery of the campus will be integrated with covered walkways and cycling lanes, to encourage people to walk or ride eco-friendly bicycles. Later on, pavilions and decks can be built next to a network of ponds and lakes to create new outdoor classrooms and lookout points, providing more common spaces for learning and relaxation.
The new ponds will enable NTU to reuse the rain water for irrigation of its lush expanses of greenery. Eventually, all the water bodies, including the naturalized waterways, ponds and lakes will form a continuous swath of blue across the campus to complement the greenery.
The Campus Master Plan is built on solid sustainability principles. NTU will apply its engineering and scientific knowledge, skills and expertise to be a living laboratory for sustainability. This is in line with Sustainable Earth, one of the Five Peaks of Excellence under the NTU 2015 Strategic Plan.
Forging greater industry links
The Campus Master Plan also aims to create a seamless physical integration between NTU and its neighbour, the upcoming CleanTech Park, a 50 hectare eco-business facility developed by JTC Corporation. It will be easy and convenient to move between the two entities, facilitating the shared use of research facilities and common spaces for social interaction.
“There are two types of research – applied research and “not-yet-applied” research. By forging close links with the industry, NTU students and researchers will have opportunities to develop their research ideas into commercial applications that meet the industry’s needs. This is good not just from an education or innovation perspective but also from an economic standpoint,” said Professor Andersson.
Fostering greater interaction
The pulse of a city is its population. NTU believes that a residential experience is an important part of a holistic varsity education. NTU will be adding 5,000 new hostel places (single and shared rooms) by 2015. This will allow every undergraduate who desires to stay on campus to be able to do so.
“NTU’s philosophy has always been that living on campus makes for a more holistic university life as the various halls of residence regularly organise their own social, sports and recreational activities. Living in such close proximity with fellow students provides opportunities to develop team building, leadership and organisational skills while interacting with students from all walks of life and different nationalities,” said Dr Su.
At present, there are 9,200 places spread over 16 halls of residence. A new graduate hall, to be ready by early 2013, will house an additional 690 places for graduate students, which will result in more than double the current places available. International faculty and staff can also look forward to new housing facilities on campus.
A new Learning Hub – a shared facility for all schools – will also be created, housing about 70 “Classrooms of Tomorrow”. These classrooms are designed to drive group discussion and interaction. Whiteboards will be replaced by giant interactive screens, and students can even collaborate with their peers in different countries. SMART Boards will empower lecturers to virtually modify their teaching, so as to best fit individual students' learning styles. The Hub is expected to be ready in two years’ time.
To drive cross-disciplinary collaboration, a new Interdisciplinary Research Building is being planned. Catering to a mix of research faculty from NTU and its institutional partners, the building will be located near the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Building at Nanyang Link and is scheduled to be ready by 2014.
In anticipation of the needs of the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, a new building will be built at the Yunnan Campus, in addition to the upcoming Novena Campus. To be outfitted with the latest technologies for learning and discovery, the building will be designed for current and emerging trends in medical education, such as virtual learning, clinical simulations and interdisciplinary collaborations. Located near the School of Biological Sciences on Nanyang Drive, it is expected to be ready by 2014. Easy access between the Yunnan and Novena campuses is being planned to ensure interaction of students from both campuses.
The Campus Master Plan is developed by the University together with a team of consultants led by Mr Harold Guida from Guida Moseley Brown Architects. It is the culmination of two intensive years of work by NTU’s Campus Planning committee that began in 2008 which included meetings with hundreds of members of the NTU community in this extensive planning process.
“The powerful and creative ideas of students, faculty, alumni, neighbours and the authorities were central to creating this plan. We wanted to ensure wide community acceptance of a vision that will guide how NTU develops over the next decade and beyond,” said Dr Su.
Summing up the objectives of this 15-year Campus Master Plan, Professor Andersson said: “The Campus Master Plan will bring synergy and energy to the NTU community. It will also enable us to optimise our physical and natural environment to meet NTU’s objectives under the NTU 2015 Plan. The new NTU is truly going to be exciting. Come and be a part of this Univer-City!”
Details of the Master Plan are available on this website:
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Feisal Abdul Rahman
Senior Assistant Director (Publicity, Media & Account Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
Tel: 6790 6687
About Nanyang Technological University