Yale-NUS College is the first liberal arts college in Singapore, offering four-year undergraduate degrees on a campus that integrates learning and living. This new institution, jointly created by Yale University and the National University of Singapore, will enroll up to 1,000 students. Adjacent to NUS’s University Town, the Yale-NUS campus comprises a central campus green flanked by academic and administrative buildings as well as three residential colleges, each arranged around its own courtyard.
Balancing the traditions of Yale with the cultures of Southeast Asia, the campus is designed in a contemporary architectural language influenced by the climate of Singapore. Sun- and rain-screened colonnades and roofs with generous eaves are used throughout the campus. Five-foot ways, the shaded walkways found alongside traditional Singapore shop houses, further tie the buildings together. For clear and inviting processional entrances, the signature gates of the Yale campus are reinterpreted with metalwork patterns inspired by Southeast Asian textiles. At the main entrance, glass-enclosed stairwells and a colonnade are topped by an inward-sloping roof of grand scale. At the center of the roof is a square oculus, which sends a dramatic cascade of rainwater into a large circular reflecting pool below.
The heart of the campus is a lush garden and arboretum with six heritage trees and an eco-pond that will capture and filter rainwater. At opposite sides of the central green space are academic and administrative buildings, including a library, performance complex, science labs and sports center. The Learning Commons, which contains the library and a multi-media center, is set on a slope to symbolize the pinnacle of knowledge. Outside the Commons is the Agora, an open-air, sheltered gathering place.
The residential colleges are central to campus life, where students expand their social and leadership skills while enjoying the support of “nested academic communities.” These small-scale communities are arranged vertically in residential towers, which contain both student suites and faculty apartments. Floors are grouped into neighborhoods, each with its own skygarden, a landscaped outdoor space for high-rise buildings that was pioneered in Singapore. In addition to residential towers, the colleges have their own dining halls and butteries, the informal student-run eateries that are a Yale tradition. As an extension of the academic environment, the colleges also have classrooms, seminar rooms, faculty offices, and study spaces. To reinforce the distinct identities of the residential colleges, the design of the buildings within each varies.
The campus was designed to achieve the highest rating under the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark, Singapore’s benchmark for sustainable design. In addition to visible sustainable design strategies such as the eco-pond and the frequent use of natural ventilation, the campus integrates advanced building systems for energy efficiency.