NTU's new $230m residential sports halls will be eco-friendly

NTU's new $230m residential sports halls will be eco-friendly

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will spend about $230 million to build new green buildings - a sports hall and three residential halls - by the first quarter of next year.

Work on the residential halls began last June while the sports hall project will start later this year. Both projects have received the Building Construction Authority's Green Mark Platinum, Singapore's highest award for sustainable building design.

Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon, associate provost for student life, said: "Our concern is how the physical and social environment come together. We value sustainability."

The $35 million sports hall, with almost 10,000 sq m over three storeys, will have retractable seats that can make way for, for example, 13 badminton courts or three basketball courts.

It will be the first large-scale project here using engineered wood systems such as cross-lamination and glulamination, in which numerous laminated small pieces of timber form a single large piece. It will also feature a 72m-long wave roof made of timber. The use of the timber - which provides heat insulation five times better than concrete - and other eco-features will reduce the hall's energy consumption by at least 40 per cent.

Similarly, each room in the new North Hill residential halls will use ventilation louvres to reduce stuffiness without using air-conditioning.

The halls are Singapore's first major development using prefabricated pre-finished volumetric construction technology. The rooms will be assembled in units in a Jurong factory, then transported to NTU and stacked on top of one another, container-style.

This will not only save time but also labour, requiring about 40 per cent less manpower to build the halls.

But overall, the new method is expected to cost about 10 to 15 per cent more than traditional ones. The cost of the halls will be about $196 million.

Prof Kwok said: "We are mindful of cost-effectiveness. We don't build a building for just five, 10 years. It's in maintenance that we reap rewards."

The residential halls - which will also house a gym five times the size of a four-room HDB flat - will be able to house more than 1,850 students. Currently, 44 per cent of undergraduates stay on campus, but Prof Kwok said this could reach 60 per cent by 2017.

Sociology student Isaac Lim, 22, hopes the new halls will improve his chance of staying on campus after his first year. "As I live in Pasir Ris, it's quite necessary for me to have a place here," he said. With the new facility, more students will also have the freedom to go to the gym, he added.


This article was first published on May 13, 2015.
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