by Jerry ElengicalOct 20, 2022
Zaha Hadid Architects, in collaboration with Architects 61, revealed the design for Singapore’s new Science Centre, which will serve as a collective platform for accessing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, with an immersive experience. Built for the Singapore Science Centre Board in the Jurong Lake District in Singapore, the 52,460 sqm space is split into programs that resonate with the institute’s founding mission of sparking curiosity and innovation in younger generations. The new facility with its interactive hubs, programs like exhibition galleries, archive labs, rooftop spaces and gardens act as a filler between the learner and the explorer. The new design aims to blend in nature and built, technology and curiosity, and knowledge and exhibits.
Informed by its surroundings, the new design by Zaha Hadid Architects intervenes in the landscape of Singapore’s Jurong Lake Gardens—the playful fabric allowing its users to interact with nature, by connecting it to the lake and nearby gardens. The five interlocking rectangular volumes house a range of exhibition galleries, interactive labs, and event spaces, in addition to the facilities such as—ancillaries, offices, archives, and service areas.
Moving further, with the incorporation of large windows that serve as 'monocles’, the five volumes offer strategic views of the lake to its users. The uniquely oriented volumes also enhance the interaction of the outdoor and indoor spaces. Seemingly billowing over the parkland, the landscape design defines a series of courtyards from the adjacent MRT station, leading to the pagoda within the Chinese garden. The balance of mass and voids is created by providing indoor, outdoor, and rooftop spaces, establishing an interaction of science and nature as well as a space for community engagement.
The new Science Centre will also include interactive spaces for all ages. The Children’s Gallery will feature an interactive outdoor waterplay area, discovery trails in the secondary forest as well as a sensory trail on the rooftop garden. Specialised labs and workshops will cater to older students by providing hands-on experiences, among those is the Eco-lab that will support students in scientific investigations. The architectural design of the structure keeps in mind these interactions by proposing public spaces, like the gardens, courtyards, and community event centres.
The centre will also educate its visitors with programmes and exhibitions on sustainability practices. It also features an observatory that will help budding astronomers learn and explore, a digital fabrication lab with incubator programmes to help nurture entrepreneurial aspirations, and a makerspace for young inventors to bring their imagination to life. The focal point of the centre will be the outdoor activity plaza, offering STEM programmes and community activities.
Spread over 73,767 sqm, the five storey structure seems floating above the surrounding parkland, which follows sustainable design principles and energy performance strategies to reduce net carbon emissions. With an aim to get the BCA Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy certification, the structure follows natural ventilation, controlled daylight, reduced energy usage, photovoltaics and insulating roof gardens. Other techniques include holistic water management and landscaping planned to conserve and restore native plant communities.
The new Science Centre is set to welcome Singaporeans in 2027, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the institution. “Our ambition for the new Science Centre is to be a truly rewarding destination for all ages and abilities. The universal design principles of the new building will facilitate equal opportunities for all visitors, regardless of demographic or learning abilities. We have also been experimenting with new programmes and exhibition formats at the current site, taking note of the best practices we can apply to provide enhanced experiences to our audiences. Top of the list is to seek community partnerships to ensure we co-create a place that individuals will not only want to visit, but also leave feeling more curious about science,” mentions Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, chief executive of Science Centre Board, in a press statement.
Name: Singapore Science Centre
Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA)
Design: Patrik Schumacher
Project Directors: Michele Pasca Di Magliano, Maurizio Meossi
Project Associate: Cristina Capanna
Project Team (Design Development Stage): Benedetta Cavaliere, Damir Alispahic, Didem Sahin, Flavia Santos, Gabriele De Giovanni, Gizem Mutharoğlu, Juan Pablo Londono, Lara Zakhem, Lorena Espaillat Bencosme, Luciana Maia Teodozio, Mauro Sabiu, Sara Criscenti, Shi Qi Tu, Valeria Perco
Project Team (Concept and Schematic Design Stages): Jakub Klaska, Cristina Capanna, Bogdan Zaha, Millicent Anderson, Sara Criscenti, Chantal Matar, Arian Hakimi, Stefano Iacopini, Serra Pakalin, Stefano Paiocchi, Martina Rosati, Harry Spraiter, Maria Touloupou, Sven Torres, Shi Qi Tu, Alessandro Cascone, Zsuzsanna Barát
Competition Project Directors: Michele Pasca Di Magliano, Maurizio Meossi
Competition Associate: Jakub Klaska
Competition Project Architects: Cristina Capanna, Mario Mattia
Competition Project Lead Designer: Bogdan Zaha
Competition Team: Saman Dadgostar, Arya Safavi, Sven Torres, Michela Falcone, Natasha Marks, Serra Pakalin, Billy Webb, Michael On, Neil Rigden, Alex Turner, Damiano Rizzini, Christina Christodoulidou
(Text by Aaryaa Joshi, intern at STIRworld)