The design strategy of the School of the Arts in Singapore is to create two visually connected horizontal strata, a space for public communication below, and a space for safe, controlled interaction above. This simple, bold strategy solves the twin objectives of porosity and communication with the public and wider arts community on the one hand, and a secure and safe learning environment on the other. The two parts are called the Backdrop and the Blank Canvas.
The backdrop is the podium that contains a concert hall, drama theatre, black box theatre and several small informal performing spaces. It is envisioned as a heavy pedestal, a gargantuan mass of stone which has been carved out and chiselled to reveal volumes in various proportions. This exciting multi level space will be open to public as a tropical urban plaza, covered yet breezy. Stairs and platforms create a diverse set of spaces where spontaneous and planned performances can occur.
The blank canvas, the secure upper stratum is where Making, Interpreting and Communicating happens between individuals and groups within the school. This level is controlled through a single point of access, yet is visually connected to the public areas below. The academic blocks are three long rectangular blocks with class rooms and studios. The rooms are designed in a module with adjustable end walls for flexibility. Other facilities such as gymnasium and resource library are suspended between these blocks. The pockets gardens are provided to link the blocks together and encourage interaction between students.