The Ministry of Education Building (MOE)
The Ministry of Education Building, the Goh Keng Swee Centre (GKSC) for Education at One North endeavours to:
• Create communities;
• Be a connected building;
• Set a new benchmark in sustainable design;
• Engage and enhance the urban principles of One North.
The legibility of a building and its movement pattern is key to the building’s expression and in turn its identity. As a facility that accommodates people dedicated to the advancement of education, we embrace the idea of the new GKSC being a learning tool that generates sustainable buildings that are legible, welcoming, and healthy. We are used to challenging the norms in the field of sustainability and delivering new sustainability benchmarks. The GKSC provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate how complex multi-use buildings can reduce their carbon footprint which in turn can be deployed across other buildings from either the private or public sector.
The buildings namesake Goh Keng Swee was a pioneer who guided Singapore in its formative years. It was Mr Goh’s long term vision to the future that should be celebrated in this new building. The best way to achieve this is to establish a new benchmark in how this building typology – the tower – can be greener, healthier, and more responsive to change.
A Communal Building
The primary objective of the GKSC building is to enhance the community that use and visit the building. Although mid-rise towers provide efficiency, the tower form can also create a series of disconnected and isolated floor plates. Interconnectivity between floor plates by a series of overlapping voids is our strategy. This allows groups of floors to be both physically and visually linked by supplementing lifts with other forms of vertical circulation. The resultant movement between building floors will allow a range of communities to be developed.
A Connected Building
With a significant portion of the building having a public or teaching function, large groups of people will be moving around the building. The movement and gathering spaces are treated as key spaces in their own right, as it not just in the classroom that one learns but from connecting with peers in an informal and social informal setting. These spaces are notable in the plan in the strong cruciform diagram that runs on both the long axis and short axis. Importantly, it is these spaces that are naturally ventilated.
A Sustainable Building
GKSC is an opportunity to establish a new sustainability benchmark for this building type and more specifically for educational facilities. The greatest contribution to sustainability is to make a building that is flexible and resilient – a building that contemplates and allows for change in the way we work and the way learn.
The building contains a series of mixed uses and we have developed a response that provides for each use a long life loose fit approach. As the nature of the contemporary workplace changes and learning perogatives develop and refine, we have imagined a range of futures for the GKSC. The structure, movement patterns and servicing diagrams are all considered as key defining elements that allow and permit change. These ‘streets’ of movement and servicing are also the means by that allow natural ventilation to occur. This will protect and safeguard this key attribute of the building’s green credentials.
Architect | Richard Kirk Architect Clare Design + DCA Architects