Global Indian International School’s new Punggol Campus sets a new standard for 21st century international education. Students on the new campus will find inspiration every day in the opportunity to connect with nature, with world class resources and facilities, and, most importantly, connect with each other in ways that build the knowledge and skills that will help them become leaders of tomorrow.
The design draws inspiration from a bird’s nest – a protective outer shell that creates a safe, and nurturing interior. The iconic curved shape of the buildings form a central outdoor play, performance, and social space, protected from car traffic and noise, and sheltered from rain and dust by a translucent fabric roof. This urban oasis, complete with a waterfall, rainwater garden, stage, and fashion runway, will be the space students remember as they take flight to new places, and new careers. The curved shape also recalls the open space in the ‘G’ of the Global Indian International School’s logo, a visual pattern that is reinforced throughout the interior and exterior design.
The exterior facades of the curved buildings are designed to recall the complex textures and patterns of the twigs that form a bird’s nest. Terracotta tiles project to create solar shading for key areas of glazing, and create a rich pattern of shadows on the façade. Three different colors of tiles are used in the body of the façade to further the sense of depth and pattern. The design team developed a computer algorithm to generate over 100 different patterns of projections, and color changes in the terracotta tiles before developing the final pattern. Beyond the symbolic and aesthetic inspiration, the nest also celebrates, and supports the migration path of many local birds, some even endangered, directly over the school site. The trees and greenery on multiple levels within the nest create opportunity for birds to perch, providing students an opportunity to see up close the amazing habitat that surrounds them. Therefore, the nest serves both as a metaphorical nest protecting students from the noise, traffic, and dust of Singapore, and literal nest with local plantings supporting the health of the birds.
Learning in Community
The campus is organized to make a large school feel small. The scale of both the elementary and secondary school is broken down into a series of Small Learning Communities (SLCs) of no more than 160 students. Each SLC has a suite of space including classrooms; flexible open space for small group collaboration, student presentations, and individual research; project space for hands on work and making; and professional space for teachers to collaboratively plan innovative learning experiences for students.
The SLC suites are located either adjacent to stairs or specialized spaces such as art studios and music spaces to minimize both horizontal and vertical travel times for students. When more vertical travel is necessary, the glass enclosed elevators at the eight story secondary school provide an unparalleled view of the birds nest.
The larger communities of the elementary school and secondary school are linked together by a bridge that provides an inspiring view of the nest, and makes a signature statement at the main entrance