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Cubes Magazine
Cubes Magazine

A Learning Curve: Nanyang Girls’ High School Extension by Park + Associates

Breaking typological moulds, Park Associates’ addition to Nanyang Girls’ High School blurs the boundaries between formal and informal modes of learning.

  • Photo by Edward Hendricks

  • Photo by Franck Pinckers

  • Photo by Edward Hendricks

  • Photo by Edward Hendricks

BY Olha Romaniuk

21 December, 2017

With its formal facade and distinct presence alongside busy Dunearn Road, the Nanyang Girls’ High School has, over the decades, maintained the unwavering confidence of a long institutional history and dignified stature. While keeping with this tradition, the new extension to the school, designed by Park + Associates, presents a different dimension for the established brand. It promotes a progressive vision via the integration of unconventional spaces designed for active learning and flexibility.

A requirement to expand the existing facilities and accommodate growing programmatic needs initially prompted an invited architectural competition, which was organised by the school. While Park + Associates aimed to satisfy the detailed spatial requirements of the original design brief, the design team looked beyond that brief to introduce innovative solutions that would exceed the specified space requirements while maintaining and celebrating the integrity of the original building.

The resulting solution was conceived as a set of ‘non-buildings’ – a pair of low-lying, semi-underground three-storey blocks with sloping roofs (begging to be run or rolled down) that merge with a field while preserving the iconic view of the existing school buildings from Dunearn Road. Park + Associate’s founder Lim Koon Park recalls that the unorthodox solution to partially sink the buildings into the ground was a risky move, as schools tend to shun the placement of any educational programmes in a basement.

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