Poly honours student team of 2009 for campus makeover
This article first appeared in The Straits Times on Dec 15, 2011.
To breathe new life into the oldest polytechnic campus here, Singapore Polytechnic decided in 2009 to look inwards to its architecture students for inspiration, instead of hiring external consultants.
The result of the $3m overhaul: Dim, concrete linkways gave way to bright and airy connectors; blankets of vertical greenery now punctuate building sides to provide shade; and an additional 2,000 new seats are sprinkled around the spruced-up compound.
“When I first came to this school, the place was rundown... and had a lot of dark corners. Students would leave right after class,” said Singapore Polytechnic principal Tan Hang Cheong, who initiated the rejuvenation programme. “Now there are a lot more places for students to hang around, and they do. There is a lot more life in the evenings.”
Yesterday, the polytechnic honoured the pioneering team of 10 students – all of whom graduated in 2009 – with a plaque, inscribed with their names for future students to see.
The school management was so satisfied with the results of the experiment that it also commissioned teams last year and this year to come up with new ideas to rejuvenate the 57-year-old campus.
By April next year, the process will be incorporated into the core curriculum, so that all incoming Diploma in Architecture students will get the opportunity to experience how an actual architect works, said School of Architecture and Built Environment director Tan Yew Meng.
A team member, who goes by the name Mr Riberd, recalled facing many challenges in the year he spent on the project.
“At one point the (school’s) estate people told us not to design something out of fantasy but something functional and within costs,” said the 24-year-old, who is now a second year architecture student at NUS. “It was really the real world coming into play.”