SUTD hopes to realise 'open campus' vision

Budding technopreneurs pitching ideas to industry veterans over coffee.

Lunchtime talks on modern design in rare Ming and Qing dynasty houses donated by movie star Jackie Chan.

These are part of the vision of an "open, 24/7" campus laid out by the provost of the new Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Professor Chong Tow Chong spoke of his aspirations ahead of the topping out ceremony, which is due to take place in September.

He told The Straits Times that the campus in Changi is designed around the concept of encouraging students to mingle.

"There will be no gates... The idea is to create openness, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in the United States," he said.

Architects and engineers will attend classes under one roof, he added, in a break from the traditional practice of grouping students by their disciplines.

Over coffee at the campus cafe, aspiring technopreneurs will be able to pitch their ideas to industry veterans from Changi Business Park across the road.

"A lot of ideas can be generated from these little conversations," said Prof Chong.

The campus, which sits on 23ha of land near Singapore Expo, features a cluster of academic buildings, with a hollow centre resembling a courtyard. The design is the work of Singapore-based DP Architects and Dutch firm UNStudio.

The latter was co-founded by renowned architect Ben van Berkel - the man behind iconic projects like the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.

There is also a cluster of residential- cum-sports facilities featuring the houses, which Chan donated from China. Maximising space is a priority as the buildings cannot go higher than eight storeys because of the campus' proximity to Changi Airport. So the tennis court sits on the roof of the sports hall, for instance.

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