Projects   Project Portfolio – August 2006
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The National Library

T. R. Hamzah & Yeang

T.R. Hamzah & Yeang applies its trademark bioclimatic design principles to the new National Library in Singapore

Photo © Tim Griffith

By Clifford A. Pearson

Ken Yeang has been preaching the green gospel for more than 30 years. When he returned to his native Malaysia after school in England, he started designing modern buildings that worked with the local climate instead of merely fighting it with airtight envelopes and lots of air-conditioning—buildings such as the Menara Mesiniaga [RECORD, March 1993, Pacific Rim section, page 26] and the Guthrie Pavilion [record, August 1998, page 81]. With his new National Library in Singapore, he has applied all this expertise to a building type often seen as resistant to energy-saving design and, in the process, has created a civic icon for a city-state bent on leveraging knowledge as an economic engine.

At first glance, the building seems to be trying a bit too hard to impress, with a sweeping facade on the east, a vast array of projecting blades and shelves, and a UFO-shaped viewing pavilion hovering above the roof. But these moves help animate what could have been a large, squat building—630,000 square feet and only 16 stories high. And by carving deep recesses and skycourts into the white blocky form, the architect creates a lively play of shadow and light that not only pleases the eye but offers cool spaces for people using the building.

When the National Library Board of Singapore held a design competition for the project in 1998, it didn’t ask for a green building. As the Singapore economy has shifted in recent years from an industrial base to one driven by information technologies and services, the government has undertaken the construction of sprawling educational campuses, some designed by high-profile international architects such as James Stirling/Michael Wilford [record, May 1997, page 102] and Gwathmey Siegel [record, December 2001, page 92]. Now it is trying to add a cultural layer to an urban mix that had previously emphasized shopping and eating as the island nation’s primary spare-time activities.

Yeang’s competition entry pulled the building into two separate parts—a banana-shaped structure on the east for exhibition spaces and cultural activities and a blockier structure on the west that would house the library collections and reading rooms. A tall atrium or semienclosed “street” would run between the two pieces, with bridges at the upper levels connecting the two sides. By raising the collections block one story off the ground, Yeang created a covered plaza at ground level that offers a large, shaded space for an outdoor café and all kinds of public events, such as book fairs and dance performances.

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the People

National Library Board Singapore

T. R. Hamzah & Yeang Sdn. Bhd.
8 Jln 1, Taman Sri Ukay,
68000 Ampang,Selangor,
Phone: +603-4257 1966
Fax: +603-4256 1005

Sister Company in London:
Llewelyn Davies Yeang
Brook House Torrington Place
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7637 0181
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7637 8740

Dr. Ken Yeang

Project Architects:
Timothy Andrew Mellor (Design Development / Specifications); Lim Hock Huat (Schematic Design); Chong Voon Wee (Contracts / Scheduling); Rodney Ng (Pre-Qualification / Competition)

Resident Architect:
Rajiv Ratnarajah

Design Director:
Ridzwa Fathan (Design Schematic); Lim Hock Huat (Design Development)

Design Architects:
Jason Yeang (Competition); Monie Mohariff (Interior Layouts); Yvonne Ho (Interior Layouts); Kenneth Cheong (Key Design Areas); Kevin Chung (Curtain Wall/Façade)

Technical & Drawings Architect:
Timothy Andrew Mellor ( Technical Drawings & Design Intent); Rajiv Ratnarajah (General Arrangement Coordination); Monie Mohariff (Interior Layouts)

Architect of record
D P Architects Pte. Ltd.
6 Raffles Boulevard
#01-100 Marina Square
Singapore 039594
Phone: +65 6338 3988
Fax: +65 6379 3989

Interior designer
Woodhead Wilson Pte Ltd
47 Scotts Road
#02-01 Goldbell Towers
Singapore 228233
Phone: +65 6735 0624
Fax: +65 6735 3347

Buro Happold Singapore Pte Ltd
7B Neil Road, Singapore 088807
Phone: +65 6324 3521
Fax: +65 6324 3531

DLQ Design Pte. Ltd.
34A Duxton Road
Singapore 089498
Phone : +65 6738 0171
Fax : +65 6738 3124

Lighting Planners Associates (S) Pte Ltd
27 Jalan Jintan, #02-27
Singapore 229017
Phone: +65 6734 3086
Fax: +65 6734 2786

Total Building Performance Team (NUS)
National University of Singapore
School of Design and Environment
Architecture Drive
Block 1, Level, 3 Department of Building
Singapore 117566
Phone: +65 6874 3413
Fax: +65 6775 5502

NLB Cost Consultant:
Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey
11C Beach Road, Singapore 189676
Phone: +65 6339 1500
Fax: +65 6339 1521 / 6339 8834

Facade Design Consultant :
Arup Singapore Pte Ltd
Local Representative’s Office
371 Beach Road
#03-03 Keypoint
Singapore 199597
Phone: +65 6298 3033
Fax: +65 6293 0135

IT Consultant:
Ove Arup & Partners International Ltd
(Arup Communications)
Local Representative’s Office
371 Beach Road
#03-01 Keypoint
Singapore 199597

Audio Visual Consultant:

CCW Associates Pte Ltd
173B Thomson Road
Goldhill Centre
Singapore 307623
Phone: +65 6352 2712
Fax: +65 63522702

Security Consultant:
CCD Australia Consulting Engineers
Local Office:
33 Liang Seah Street
#04-01, Singapore 189054
Australia’s Office:
41 Ord Street West
Perth 6005
Phone: +65 6883 0667
Fax: +65 6883 0667

Risk Management:
Willis (Singapore) Pte Ltd
78 Shenton Way
Singapore 079120
Phone: +65 6221 9877 / 6422 0519
Fax: +65 6224 0398

General contractor
Nishimatsu – Lum Chang JV
491B, River Valley Road,
#19-01/02 Valley Point Office Tower,
Sinagpore 248373
Phone : +65 6339 9855
Fax: +65 6339 1655

– KL Ng Photography
Lot 138, Wisma HLA,
Jln Raja Chulan
50200 Kuala Lumpur,
– Tim Griffith
– Clifford Pearson

Shahrul Nizam
No.1B, Jalan SS 5A/6,
Kelana Jaya,
47301 Petaling Jaya,
Selangor, Malaysia
Phone : +6012 281 9510

the Products

Structural system
Yu Gyo Engineering, Jiungyo Engineering, Continental Steel

Structural Sealant:
Dow Corning

Gasket - Gaintect

Alcom Malaysia

– Singapore Safety Glass Pte. Ltd, PPG /
– Vision Glass
– Spranded Glass – AFGD Glass

Double Leaf Double Acting Pivot-swing Glass Door – Flamelite (s) Pte. Ltd

Fire-control doors, security grilles:
Fire Rated Glass Door – Flamelite (s) Pte. Ltd

Upswinging doors, other:
Fire Retad Roller Shutter – Singapore Rolling Shutters (Pte) Ltd

Dorma Production GmbH & Co. KG

Dorma Production GmbH & Co. KG

Rack & Pinion Door Closer - Dorma Production GmbH & Co. KG

Exit devices:
Emergency Exit Sign – PNE Translite Pte. Ltd, Intraco Limited.

Interior finishes
Acoustical ceilings:
– Gema Metal Ceiling Ltd. Switzerland
– Ecophon Ltd. Hampshire
– Rockfon A/S, Hovedgaden 501 DK 2640 Hedchusene, Denmark

Demountable partitions:
Fire Reted glass Partitions – Flamelite (s) Pte. Ltd

Paints and stains:
ICI Paints (Singapore) Pte. Ltd

fabricnation (s) Pte.Ltd, Pacific furnishings (S.E.A) Pte.Ltd.

– Composite panels – Mitsubishi Chemical Functional Products
– Aluminium & Solid panels – Alcom Malaysia

Plastic laminate:
Tan Aik Koon Pte. Ltd, Formwall Products / Goodrich Wallcoverings & Carpets Pte. Ltd

Floor and wall tile:
Wall & Floor Tile – Leefon Corporation

Shaw Industries Inc. Singapore Rep. Office

Fixed seating:
– Auditorium Seat – Ergoworld Pte. Ltd, Besco Building Supplies (S.E.A) Pte. Ltd
– Black Box Seating – Besco Building Supplies (S.E.A) Pte. Ltd
– Besco Building Supplies

Pacific Furnishing (S.E.A) Pte. Ltd, Fabricnation (s) Pte. Ltd.

Accessibility provision:
Lift – Fujitech Singapore Corporation Limited

Safety System
Fire Curtain:
Ferco Shutter Pte. Ltd

Smoke Curtain:
– Colt Ventilaton East Asia Pte. Ltd.
– Fire Rated Ventilaton & Kitchen Exhaust Duct – Intumex Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd

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