SINGAPORE - The new Science Centre at Jurong Lake Gardens, slated to be ready around 2025, will be larger to house more exhibitions and laboratories for visitors to conduct experiments and create new inventions.
Leveraging the waterfront location, it will have more outdoor programmes for visitors to explore nature and science within the green space. The Science Centre's design will also blend with the natural landscape and Jurong Lake.
To be located next to Chinese Garden MRT station, the new centre is envisioned to be the "edutainment institution" within the upcoming Jurong Lake District and next to a 7ha tourism development, which will include a hotel, attractions, eateries and shops.
"As we wind down the focus on exams in schools, we are ramping up inquiry-based and applied learning in schools.
"The new Science Centre will be the biggest applied-learning classroom," said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who visited Science Centre Singapore on Friday (May 24) for the official opening of a 2,000 sq m exhibition on Australia's polar dinosaurs.
The new centre will house more purpose-built gallery spaces for thematic exhibits and enhanced educational facilities, such as specialised labs for students.
To provide more opportunities for hands-on activities, exhibition galleries, labs and workshop spaces will be integrated into one big space.
"Hands-on experience already exists in the current Science Centre, at the Tinkering Studio. In the new Science Centre, almost the whole centre will be a big Tinkering Studio. The learning is brought to life immediately," said Mr Ong.
While the current studio hosts workshops and conducts activities for children, the new centre will allow a student, among other things, to conduct experiments to analyse DNA right after visiting an exhibition on the subject.
Students may also visit a robotics exhibition and try to program a drone with tools available at the centre while being guided by mentors.
Mr Ong added: "Thanks to the Internet of things...if they were studying water quality in Jurong Lake or experimenting with how plants grow with certain nutrients, they can continue to monitor the progress of those projects in school."
The new centre will also have a maker space for technology companies to test prototypes or for creators to use a 3D-printer.
For these plans to take shape, the Science Centre Board awarded a multi-disciplinary consultancy tender to a team led by local architect firm Architects 61 on Friday, which proposed the design for the new Science Centre.
The Straits Times understand that the detailed design of the centre is expected to be ready by next year.
The existing Science Centre will continue to run until around 2025, before it is repurposed for other uses.
In total, 24 teams responded to the Science Centre Board's call for tender last October.
Architects 61, in collaboration with Zaha Hadid, another architect company, submitted the "best proposal which reflected the boldness of scientific endeavour and future focused Stem aspirations", said the Science Centre and the Ministry of Education in a joint statement.
The Science Centre's latest exhibition on polar dinosaurs, called DinoQuest, will be open to the public from June 1 to August 31.
The exhibition uses digital technology such as holograms to introduce visitors to the dinosaur species and their fossils.
Marking its world premiere at the Science Centre, the roving exhibition will travel to other parts of the world after August.