The National University of Singapore (NUS) Student and Residential Life Master Plan is intended to create a student life environment that reflects the university's status as a leading global university. The plan creates a sustainable, vibrant campus that facilitates an integrated living-learning experience and encourages intellectual community and exchange. The primary solution is the creation of new central green space at the heart of the campus—Kent Common—and several satellite hubs to encourage community in different areas of the campus. The hubs are connected to the green through a coalescing landscape environment and well-defined pedestrian connections.
Since the NUS Kent Ridge campus was developed in the 1970s and '80s, the university has become one of the top academic and research institutions in the world and enrollment has tripled. Such rapid growth has resulted in many challenges, including inadequate infrastructure, overcrowded student life venues, a lack of interactive common areas, and circulation issues. New developments also needed to be better integrated with the existing campus fabric— particularly the University Town development across the Ayer Rajah Expressway. Additionally, the university wanted to integrate more environmentally sustainable solutions.
Sasaki developed a vision for the NUS campus vision based on eight central design goals: 1) creating a strong sense of place with a particular focus on student life; 2) creating a memorable sense of arrival and public realm; 3) engaging Kent Ridge as part of the student life experience; 4) fostering connectivity on campus; 5) responding to context, climate, topography, heritage buildings, and Asian culture; 6) integrating sustainability; 7) accommodating program needs to foster student-staff interaction; and 8) planning phasing in achievable development phases, with short-term (5-years) transformative projects.
The master plan creates a framework to guide the development of student and residential life facilities over time. Kent Common, the satellite hubs, and the connecting landscape will result in an integrated, dynamic campus. The master plan also articulates a new facilities program for the campus core and satellite hubs. The program comprises student life and arts uses, dining, library and study space, sports and recreation uses, and student housing—which together create an integrated student life environment and holistic student experience.