The Arc provides cross-campus links to adjacent buildings

The Arc, the second learning hub facility at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), seeks to transform the delivery of higher education with cutting-edge spaces that promote active social learning in an open and revitalised landscape setting.

The winning design by KIRK, in association with DCA Architects, features a series of ‘learning platforms’ tuned to setting and place, catering for different learning patterns, modes and technologies.

The building programme includes 56 ‘smart’ classrooms with 30 to 72 clustered seats, 13 project discussion rooms, a 108-seat lecture theatre, student hub and chillout zones, food and retail tenancies and workshop spaces.

Gone are the days of traditional classrooms where students sit passively in rows. The design response intentionally transcends the cellular planning model and becomes a more effective open learning environment. The active learning spaces are designed for flexibility and dynamic participation, integrating space, pedagogy and technology-enhanced active learning (TEAL) facilities.

Beyond its functional role in facilitating collaboration and learning, The Arc stands as a vibrant campus heart with its iconic architecture. Its open curves, translucency and permeability welcomes the university community at the North Spine and provides cross-campus links to adjacent buildings.

Aluminium suncreens reduce solar glare and keep rain out
Permeable skin

The development—Singapore’s first Green Mark Platinum building—also sets a new benchmark for sustainable tropical architecture. Instead of walls, it has aluminium sunscreens that reduce solar glare and heat and keeps rain out, while allowing ventilation throughout the day—making it a building that ‘breathes’.

Using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and micro-climate analysis, the design consultant modelled how comfort levels could be maximised by accelerating outside air movement through the permeable building. This ensured 30 per cent of the floor area could be naturally ventilated.

The building’s air-conditioning system uses passive cooling coils to chill the air without the use of fans. These coils cool the air as it sinks downwards, which moves warm air upwards. Other eco-friendly features include energy-saving LED lighting, motion sensors and solar-powered systems.

The final product is a building that is distinctly regional, reflecting and responding directly to the local climate.

Ventilated atrium that 'breathes' naturally
Tropical architecture reimagined


Project Name
NTU Learning Hub ‘The Arc’
76, Nanyang Drive, Singapore
Completion Date
January 2018 (TOP)
Site Area
9,650 square metres
Gross Floor Area
18,113 square metres
Building Height
6 storeys
The Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
Design Consultant
Design Team
Richard Kirk; Jonathan Ward; Greg Clarke; Karl Eckermann; Lamare Wimberly
Architecture Firm
DCA Architects
Principal Architect
Khoo Poh Bin
Interior Design Firm
I.DCA Pte Ltd
Civil & Structural Engineer
KTP Consultants
Mechanical Engineer
AECOM Singapore Pte Ltd
Quantity Surveyor
WT Partnership (S) Pte Ltd
Green Building Consultant
Building System and Diagnostics Pte Ltd
Main Contractor
Lian Ho Lee Construction (Pte) Ltd
Patrick Bingham-Hall; KIRK