'Mum I DO want to go to school today!'

Studio 505 split in two earlier this year but they've left us with some great work - including this school in Singapore
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Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505
Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505

Forgive us if we’re a bit late to the party in bringing you these pictures but we couldn’t let the space of a few months get in the way of sharing such a simple, yet undeniably effective, reinvention of a school.

It was the final project from the Melbourne based practice Studio 505 before they split into two new firms - Zimmermann Design Studio and decibel (Architecture))) - at the beginning of this year.

 

Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505
Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505

Well known for their bold use of geometric patterns and bold blocks of colour on buildings as far afield as Phoenix, in the US; Wujin in China; and their hometown Melbourne in Australia; their trnasformation of the Nanyang Primary School Extension in Singapore was cleverly achieved through the low-cost budget application of emulsion paint on precast concrete spandrels, as well as coloured shading shelves to provide protection against sun and wind driven rain.

 

Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505
Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505

"The new extension is designed around a large ‘internalised’ public Valley, open to the sky and the elements, but facing away from the residential streets surrounding the school," the architects said. "The design objective was to place the school’s communal space at the heart of studio505’s and LT&T’s design.

"Part of the previously existing Nanyang Primary School’s campus, namely the hilltop buildings and the Coronation Road entrance buildings had been reserved for demolition under the brief as they no longer provided an environment up to modern teaching standards. 

 

Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505
Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505

"Those previous buildings, in particular the large kindergarten building had not been positioned and designed in sync with the natural sloping topography of the site from street level up to the hilltop. Instead it was located parallel to the street and perpendicular to the direction of the slope, thus creating a ‘wall-like’, uninviting barrier when seen from the entrance. Behind this building, the steep slopes were exposed or bridged over, creating unusable and unsightly space pockets that were difficult to integrate from a user perspective.

These unusable spaces between the former large scale buildings, out of proportion and character with a child’s world, created the starting point of our thinking for the new design. Very quickly it became clear that the new concept will have to be centered on a generous, open and usable communal space that draws advantages from the site’s inherent topography."

 

Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505
Nanyang Primary School Extension, Singapore - Studio 505

But if you think all that colour might prove a distraction to young minds rest assured that the “The classroom door is the only internal coloured element, according to the architects, “leading children out into the rich and dreamlike external world of seemingly endless coloured horizontal stripes and pathways of life.” Similar innovative thinking and eye-catching images can be found in our two pint-sized architecture books Nanotecture: Tiny Built Things and Jutaku.


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