International School at Tampines makes the most of it's limited space through ingenious architectural design
International School at Tampines, Singapore (United World College of South East Asia - East Campus) is an international school of approximately 76,000 sq m in floor area located on a site of 5.2ha, comprising of one infant block, two educational blocks, one sports amenities and a student hostel. Once completed the campus would have a capacity of 2,500 students aged 4 to 18 years old. The 24 months construction of the campus since April 2009 is expected to be fully completed in April 2011.
In the context of resource limitation and land scarcity in Singapore, the design and construction of schools typically poses challenges with regards to land usage and energy consumption. Arising from the requirements of large spaces such as fields and halls, and the basic principles of an optimal learning environment with an abundance of daylighting, ventilations, interaction spaces and landscapes, school design commonly occupies substantial plot of land.
In the context of limited land capacity in Singapore, the design of International School @ Tampines, Singapore (United World College of South East Asia - East Campus), has innovatively intensified and optimised the land usage without compromising on the qualities of the optimal learning environment. An elevated landscape podium deck is created to increase floor areas without further densifying the built-up areas by unnecessarily increasing in the vertical height of the campus, which is not a desirable quality in the design of a school. The creation of an elevation deck also creates a vehicular-free and fully landscaped platform to facilitate student interactions, hence establishing as the key interaction zone for the whole campus. Similarly, the clever use of the large roofscape in multiple functions such as the ball courts, roof garden, solar panel field, etc has also further optimised the use of spaces. The high energy usage in a school is commonly attributed to the high electricity usage for optimal indoor quality and operational redundancy in the non-simultaneous usage of rooms.
The design of International School at Tampines, Singapore (United World College of South East Asia - East Campus) resolves the challenges in energy management by adopting efficient technologies in the operation of mechanical services, and harnessing and recycling substantial volume of supplementary energy and resources in order to cut down the energy consumption of the school. Renewable solar energy, rainwater recycling, efficient air-conditioning and lighting systems are a few key environmental features in the energy management of the school. The schools boast an extensive area of close to 0.5 hectares of solar panels in harnessing the solar energy, which is one of the largest in the region. Similarly, 0.5hectares of the elevated soccer field is also design as a rainwater collection catchment area for the rainwater irrigation system within the school premise.
The design of UWCSEA (East Campus) exemplifies the resolution of challenges in energy and resource management in the design of a school and at the same time illustrates the means of capitalising the built-environment as the optimal learning environment for experiential learning in the students, where the various building designs are incorporated as part of the educational tools and processes in shaping the young minds of global citizens with keen awareness on our environment.