Wednesday, 19 January 2011

There's a rainforest in the food court

When people refer to Nanyang's "garden campus", they're not exaggerating. When I think of greenery at a college, I think of manicured lawns, some trees, and maybe a few patches of forest here and there, perhaps with benches for studying under the trees.

Nanyang Technological University (henceforth referred to - in the locals' parlance - as NTU) fits this mold to some extent, but the way that it interacts with its natural elements goes further in a way that only a tropical campus could. Bushes of beautiful and surprising flowers pop out all over, and many hallways have views of the stunningly forested, tempting Restricted Area next door:

Don't go there. even if you don't get punished for trespassing, it's a live-fire zone... and I think that's where they keep the shield generator
The School of Art, Design and Media sports a grass roof that is the heighth of fashion, IMO.

Covered walkways are a necessity here due to the constant threat of rain - the ever-present clouds are a reason why, while Google Maps has cloudless pictures of nearly the entire globe, its pictures of Singapore and NTU are dotted with clouds that obscure the view. NTU's covered walkways are utilitarian but they also feel organic, with forest-green curving supports and sky-gray roofs.
A covered walkway at NTU.

It doesn't stop there. Going for a walk earlier this afternoon to stave off jet lag, we discovered something interesting in one of NTU's food courts. (By the way, there are 14 food courts!! Fourteen! Ok, so I'm a small-college kid with big-college culture shock. I'll get over it...) This particular eatery is built around a tiny patch of managed rainforest. Only a few meters away from your table, you can walk straight onto a boardwalked path surrounded by rainforest trees.
It's awesome.

(EDIT: pictures added!) I'm dying to take pictures of these things, but the sun has set and they'll have to wait.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a beautiful place to work, makes me sinto saudade de a Escola Americana de Brasilia.

    Are there also ewoks in the Restricted Area?