National Design Centre by SCDA Architects

National Design Centre in Singapore

Centrally located in the arts, cultural, learning and entertainment district in the Bras Basah-Bugis area, the National Design Centre will be a nexus for all things design, serving as a lecture hall, space for public exhibitions, and think tank for Singapore’s growing design culture.
National Design Centre in SingaporeAs Singapore’s primary hub for design, the National Design Centre serves to foster a strong design culture in Singapore and deepen the appreciation of good design through community engagement activities and design showcases.
National Design Centre in SingaporeLocated at 111 Middle Road (the former Saint Anthony’s Convent premises), Chan, one of Singapore’s most acclaimed architects, designed the Centre through the creative restoration and adaptive re-use of existing buildings which have been gazetted for conservation by the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
National Design Centre in SingaporeThe buildings were originally constructed as convent schools and a chapel, which now functions as the Centre’s lecture theatre. Mr. Chan has inserted into the existing buildings four cantilevering and overlapping translucent ‘boxes,’ which form interconnected spaces for both public and private uses.
National Design Centre in SingaporeThe composition opens internally, drawing the public inward to activate the central courtyard. This scheme respects the original building and enhances the existing spaces within. The overall design sets the stage for the Centre’s activities, encouraging innovation and inspiring collaboration.
National Design Centre in SingaporeWhen asked about key design concepts for the building, Mr. Chan said, “our concept was to create big public spaces – the internal courtyard and an external courtyard. The indoor court we enclosed with a sculptural skylight. That was the beginning of it – two communal spaces that all the other spaces would focus upon.
National Design Centre in SingaporeOnce this principle was established, we needed to be very clear about what we added. This is a conservation building. Whatever we added were just key functional elements, such as the required fire stair. We turned that into a design element.
National Design Centre in SingaporeFinally, we wanted to create a secondary layer of complexity. That is why we introduced pivoting walls that really change the nature of the space, creating additional surface area for exhibitions and revealing some of the programmes behind.”
National Design Centre in SingaporeDesigners and businesses will congregate at the Centre to exchange ideas, conduct business, and obtain assistance from the DesignSingapore Council, the national agency that promotes design. With the National Design Centre, the DesignSingapore Council hopes to lower the barriers to the adoption of good design and encourage innovation.
National Design Centre in SingaporeThe Centre will provide training for designers and businesses to acquire new skills for innovation and solutions to business challenges. Designers will also have access to basic prototyping facilities.
National Design Centre in SingaporeLocation: 111 Middle Road, Singapore
Architects: SCDA Architects
Architect In Charge: Chan Soo Khian
Project Team: Malcolm McCulloch, Darren Yio, Erickson Gopez, Engeland Apostol, John Chia, Eiwa Badilla
Structural Engineer: Web Structures Pte. Ltd.
Mechanical and Electrical Engineer: Bescon Consulting Engineers
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon KPK (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
Lightning Consultant: Lighting Planners Associates (S) Pte. Ltd.
Main Contractor: Vigcon Construction Pte. Ltd.
Area: 7,900 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Aaron Pocock, Courtesy of SCDA Architects
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