Merging nature seamlessly into the built environment makes a great living experience in this tropical heat, and some recent projects have smashed this concept out of the proverbial park.
One stand-out example is Taylor’s University’s new Lakeside Campus, where you can find wide steps lined with trees leading down to the pièce de résistance - the 5.5-acre man-made lake that pulls together the design of gleaming white buildings surrounded by 27 acres of lush greenery.
The campus was devised by NWKA Architects, and principal director Ng Wai Keong believes it is a testament to their approach in designing a student-centred campus, rather than the institution-centric norm.
“Today, it is still a concept many struggle to appreciate. Student intake almost doubled and the industry stopped momentarily to take stock of the impact. It was a game changer,” Ng told Construction Plus Asia.
Indeed, the Lakeside campus has several best features. First is definitely the lake where all the blocks were strategically placed around it. Secondly, the arrangement of all lecture theatres along a central circulation spine which makes it very convenient for lecturers and students.
“The openness of the design allows for good natural lighting and ventilation especially at the main circulation spine,” says Mohd Adib Ramli, Programme Director of the School of Architecture, Building and Design at Taylor’s University.
There are many other further enhancements. “Pocket spaces were created to allow for students’ discussions or simply a place to relax. The positioning of cafes near the lecture theatres allows student to get a quick bite right before or after class,” Mohd Adib adds.
The facilities are top of the line and it’s no wonder students thrive. There’s the four-storey library, a mini theatre that screens film and documentaries, a fully equipped audio recording studio and nine training restaurants.
As part of Taylor’s aim to encourage a lively and networked community, the campus grounds and buildings are littered with nook and crannies for students to study and interact, including a comprehensive Student Life Centre with discussion hubs, a meeting room, study areas and a Mini Events Zone.
Another star attraction that helps to encourage a healthy lifestyle is the Sports and Recreation Centre which offers a fully-equipped gym and swimming pool alongside activities such as kayaking, camping, jungle trekking and rock climbing.
The effect on students and staff here is clear: international students have ranked the Lakeside Campus as the top university campus in Malaysia, and Taylor’s University is ranked among the top 150 universities in Asia by the QS University Rankings.
The campus has won awards for its innovative design that seeks to combine state-of-the-art learning facilities with natural surroundings for an enriching education experience.
“Both the students and staff really love and are proud of the design of this campus. As for myself, I don’t feel like dragging my feet to work every day,” Mohd Adib enthuses.