The world's 10 best green universities

#3 Nanyang Technological University



Thomas Heatherwick Studio has designed a highly unique structure at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore called the Learning Hub, or as nicknamed by the student body; the Dim Sum Towers.

Looking more like a stack of Dim Sum bamboo baskets than anything else, this building provides learning spaces for students to engage with each other. Despite having no particular front or back, there are over 12 entrances over five levels.


With a goal in mind to maintain the highest level of green credentials, Heatherwick Studio worked with project architect Ole Smith and sustainability expert CPG, previously the Public Works Department of Singapore, to ensure they ticked all the right boxes for the project - resulting in this building achieving Singapore's Green Mark Platinum, which is no mean feat.

The building, surprisingly, has no air conditioning. Instead it uses a state-of-the-art cooling system that pumps chilled water from a plant from an exterior building through pipes, combining this with a convection method between the inner and outer walls to circulate the cooled air.


Inside the concrete building there is a vast open area spanning up through the centre atrium. Greenery has been planted along the railings on each level, and this will eventually form a green curtain.


The overall outcome, Heatherwick decides, is that this big concrete building 'has a handmade feel'. He adds that it's 'a response to the sterility that we perceived in much of UK post-war architecture that seemed to be very cold... how do you somehow give a soulfulness to a new building so that it doesn't have to wait a hundred years to have some character?'

For a closer look at the university, read Blueprint editor Johnny Tucker's article on the Learning Hub, which includes with an exclusive interview with Thomas Heatherwick.

Images: Hufton and Crow

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