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The Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School/ Khoo Teck Puat Building, Singapore, Singapore

Wednesday 30 Sep 2009

The Duke graduates

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Medical school building to boost numbers of healthcare professionals in Singapore 

Khoo Teck Puat Building in Singapore is the instrument for the success of the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (Duke-NUS), the first collaboration of its kind in Singapore between two of the world’s top higher education institutions – Duke University in the USA and National University of Singapore. The country’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong opened the RMJM-designed building this week signalling Singapore's ascent towards becoming a world leader in healthcare and biomedical research.

The new school building will significantly boost the number of highly trained doctors and is the first medical facility of its kind in the country. At 26,000 sq m and 11 storeys tall, Duke-NUS is a 'vertical campus', housing research offices, wet and dry laboratories, classrooms, lecture halls, a library, student lounges, a café and administrative offices. The placement of the building’s functions and programmes were designed to build the academic community and promote scientific collaboration.

Singapore is striving to become a world leader in healthcare and biomedical research. In 2000, the country launched the Singapore Biotechnology Initiative, committing S$3 billion over five years to accelerate development in biomedical sciences, offering incentives to attract companies to Singapore and funding research institutes devoted to genomics, nanotechnology, molecular and cell biology and cancer therapies.

“We designed this new medical school in response to Duke University's and National University of Singapore's mission to educate students according to Duke’s innovative method to develop doctors that excel in medical research, education and patient care,” said Steven K. Gifford, Managing Principal of RMJM’s Global Health and Science Studio.

“This state-of-the art medical school is designed to meet the needs of frequently changing research teams and with three visions in mind: integrating the local, physical landscape; defining modern laboratories abroad; and responding to the equatorial climate while achieving a high degree of sustainability.”

The building, which achieved Green Mark certification, is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature in Singapore’s tropical climate. The exterior louvers and sunshades protect interior spaces while the building massing shades exterior courtyards. The ceramic tile used on the exterior contains titanium dioxide, a material that reduces the need for heavy maintenance, withstands mold in a tropical environment and is believed to reduce smog and pollutants in the air of urban environments.

The heartbeat of the building is the eight-story, glass central atrium, which ties the library and academic spaces on the ground level to principal investigators on the research floors above. The atrium promotes an ease of vertical circulation while promoting the most important goal: fostering collaboration on all levels between educators, principal investigators, post-doctoral candidates, research technicians and students.

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