Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects have released renderings today of the Yale-NUS campus which has begun construction in Singapore. The new institution, offering a four-year liberal arts curriculum to one thousand students, is a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. To design the new campus, the architects have taken the distinct cultural backgrounds of the founding institutions as a reference for the design of the campus.
Within the limitations of Singapore’s wet and humid climate and the environmental standards of the “Green Mark”-the country’s standard for assessing sustainable design-the firm has incorporated architectural elements to make a very strong and apparent comparison between the parent schools. Residential colleges with “butteries” as well as representation’s of Yale’s gates reference the institution while “five-foot ways” and skygardens are ancient and modern references to Singapore.
The comparison between the two founding universities is also taken more broadly as a conversation between East and West. The building holding the library, called the “Learning Commons” is set on a hill, the “pinnacle of knowledge,” a reference to the Parthenon where Athena, the goddess of wisdom, would sit. The outside of the Commons is the Angora, continuing the reference. Southeast Asian textiles are referenced in exterior metalwork as well as in interior ornament.