Lasalle College of the Arts officially opened its second campus yesterday evening in Winstedt Road, off Bukit Timah Road.
The 5,000 sq m compound houses studios, workshops and photography labs spread over four blocks, surrounded by greenery and an open space the size of two football fields.
The Winstedt campus complements Lasalle's existing 35,000 sq m building in McNally Street, near Middle Road, which opened in 2007.
Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong was the guest of honour at the ceremony, which saw dance and music performances by the school's students.
Unlike the McNally campus, which also contains galleries, lecture theatres and administrative offices, the Winstedt buildings are designed to be a centre for independent studio work and research.
Lasalle president Steve Dixon said: "The Winstedt campus gives our students the best of both worlds, complementing the core lectures and teaching programme at the McNally campus with wonderful new facilities for art-making and creative expression."
The tertiary arts institution took over the compound, formerly the Madrasah Al-Irsyad Al-Islamiah secondary school, in June last year. Students began using the premises two months later, in August.
Currently, more than 600 students from the Faculty of Design and Faculty of Fine Arts make use of both campuses, which are about 2km apart.
Professor Dixon added that the new campus "enhances Lasalle's engagement with the wider community by providing a venue for more short courses for the public, and increased collaborations with the creative industries".
Faculty of Design dean Nur Hidayah Abu Bakar also said: "We're looking to collaborate with partners. At the moment, our product design students are working with Porsche, doing prototype research projects, and they have a lab in Winstedt... We want to develop other labs, with different techniques. The idea is for students to see the Winstedt campus as a creative space for them to start experimenting, and to do cross-collaboration with other students."
Ms Jiselle Magbanua, 22, is currently in her third year of study for a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in fine arts. She attends classes at the McNally campus two to three times a week, and is at the Winstedt site the rest of the time.
She said: "I do like it here in Winstedt. In McNally, the fine arts students were in the basement most of the time, but here, I'm a lot more inspired to do my work because of the open fields and exposure to nature in general."
This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.
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