New School

09 july 2013 / interior / words olha romaniuk
01 OCBC Campus entrace; 02 Lounge; 03 Secondary Lounge; 04 Event space; 05 Learning Labs “Agora” Typology; 06 Learning Labs “Inside-Outside” Typology; 07 Learning Labs “Pod” Typology; 08 Campus office; 09 Wall installation art.
A training facility for Singapore’s OCBC Bank rethinks the way schools are built.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, it has had just the opposite effect on the instructors and students at OCBC Bank’s new 10-storey employee training campus in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District. The client’s ambitious design brief challenged Singapore-based Ministry of Design to rethink the pedagogical practices and spaces at OCBC’s old campus; MOD responded by designing a brand new facility with unique spatial solutions that created opportunities for active learning through visual exploration and spatial interconnectivity.
From the mezzanine level areas overlooking the glass-clad, double-height lounge and reception to the learning spaces at the upper floors, direct and indirect interaction between the building users was one of the key design components across all levels of the building. As part of this design strategy,  MOD created visual connections between each learning space, whether an intimate niche, a lab-like pod or a mini-amphitheatre, with inviting thresholds and rectangular and circular glass panels that put different educational experiences on display and entice visitors’ curiosity.
MOD also incorporates a touch of whimsy and playfulness into its methodical design strategy of the new-age classroom spaces. As a direct challenge to the mundanely rectangular classrooms, MOD’s vision of the new learning environments at the new campus includes a variety of unique labs and nooks, characterised by warm materials and bold colours applied selectively to vertical and horizontal surfaces. The unexpected, odd shapes of the small group learning rooms and variations in step heights at the Agora-style labs provide a welcomed reprieve from the traditionally dull educational environments and a valid incentive to rediscover the love of learning.

An earlier version of this story may have given readers the impression that the OCBC campus was an educational institution. It is in fact a training center for OCBC Bank's employees. The story has been updated to reflect this fact.


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