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NTU South Spine Learning Hub

The NTU South Spine Learning Hub looks set to be an unconventional sight to behold come 2014. Encompassing different sized classrooms stacked into towers, the inverted cone-shaped building is one of 10 new developments being built at NTU (Nanyang Technological University) within the next three years under the university’s master plan.

Accessible 24 hours a day, the building will emphasise an open spirit—not only in architectural terms, but also in conceptual and operational terms. For instance, classrooms will display the various activities within, encouraging visual contact within the interior of the building, while the open concept of the building ensures that entrances to the Learning Hub are generous and welcoming, permitting students to approach it with ease from all directions.

Greenery & Natural Materials

To appeal to its identity as a garden campus, the new Learning Hub will incorporate a generous amount of natural foliage as part of its design. This will be accomplished through the use of internal vertical greenery and rooftop greenery. The upper levels and roof will include shared and informal spaces, such as shaded terraces, to further enhance the garden experience. The naturally ventilated atrium and balconies will have plants within the balustrade design, providing a cooler semi-outdoor environment.

In conjunction with the Green nature of the building, selected materials are kept in their natural form without applying additional finishings. These materials include phosphor bronze, pigmented off-form concrete and solid timber.

Heat Reduction

The inclusion of greenery also reduces solar glare and heat gain by natural means, lessening the need to rely on artificial devices in addition to providing reprieve from Singapore’s tropical climate.

The building’s inverted cone shape permits the upper floors to shade the lower levels, reducing exposure to solar heat, and the use of passive displacement ventilation strategy is more sustainable than conventional air-conditioning systems.

Harnessing Natural Energy

Daylight is introduced into the building through the use of skylight; and with a suitable visible light transmission (VLT) value, a controlled amount of sunlight can enter the atrium. The openings between pods allow for natural ventilation to the atrium, corridors, staircases, and lift lobby.

Conservation Strategies

The installation of motion sensors in classrooms, toilets and staircases keeps lighting usage flexible, preventing unnecessary energy wastage whilst catering directly to the needs of users. At the same time, the use of T5 and PLC energy-efficient light fittings with high frequency ballast will increase the lifespan of the lighting and result in energy savings.

Drainage cells with hydrophilic polymers are used in planters to increase soil absorption and distribute moisture, saving water and eliminating the need for an irrigation system for the greenery. This also ensures that the plants are managed efficiently in the long run.

Water conservation is achieved through the use of fittings rated “excellent” under the Water Efficiency Labelling System (WELS). Major water uses are also sub-metered, encouraging water conservation. In addition, a BMS System will link the sub-meters together, facilitating the management of overall energy demand.
Project Data

Project Name
NTU South Spine Learning Hub
Expected Completion
Site Area
2,000 square metres
Gross Floor Area
14,000 square metres (approximately)
Building Height
8 storeys


Nanyang Technological University
Architecture Firm
CPG Consultants
Design Consultant
Heatherwick Studio
Main Contractor
Newcon Builders
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
Bescon Consulting Engineers
Civil & Structural Engineer TYLin International
Images/Photos (Credit to)
CPG Consultants; Heatherwick Studio














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