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Martial Arts Space in National University of Singapore, Sports and Recreational Center

Part 2 Project 2005
Bernard Lee Yeow Siong
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore
This is a critic of contemporary martial arts practice spaces, which lacks the quality for practitioners to enjoy the practice process of martial arts. Key design emphasis are:

1) Layering the spatial sequence –
Pre and post-practice rituals, robing, belongings, ceremonies, warm-up, moving, static routines, sparring, and quiet study spaces were sequenced and layered for ritualistic legibility and architectural interest.

2) Use of screens and layered transparency –
Screens filter different layers of spatial transparency, which also respond to the equatorial climate, allowing users to enjoy the context of beautiful trees and canopies of filtered light.

3) Hierarchy of materials –
Architectural legibility of diffused spatial boundaries between public and private domains is expressed using the contrast between opaque masonry elements (public domain) and lighter timber and steel construction (public domain).

4) Infiltration of public into private domains and landscape into architecture –
The design is not a closed box but an intervention of screens, where public context of recreational, sports and pre-post-examination functions are integrated, revolving around a set of existing beautiful mature rain-trees, allowing them to define spaces so architecture and landscape can overlap seamlessly into one entity.

Architectural expression is used honestly, without cosmetics, with minimal intervention to generate maximum enjoyment of spaces for its users. The hopeful end result is the creation of a memorable martial arts place.

Bernard Lee Yeow Siong


The thesis project is premised on a real challenge experienced by the student body on campus concerning a martial arts facility.
The project raises the question on what kind of architecture would be relevant in the context of a contemporary campus sports facility
yet provide the appropriate spirit of ritualistic discipline steeped in martial arts tradition?
The filmic idea that martial arts is taught in traditionally architectured pugilist schools led by a heroic master is
cliched and irrelevant to a 25,000 strong premier campus. Yet the teaching and the practice of the martial arts forms is not without ritual and order.
The two extreme conditions are complex challenges given an additional requirement that
any campus building should be flexible enough for accommodating other functions including the hosting of competitions and the semestrial exams
given its location adjacent to existing sports complexes and multi purpose halls

The site strategy has in a brilliant stroke provided the spatial layering required to connect the scheme
to the campus sports network whilst filtering access into pugilists' practice coutyards and street spaces
without compromising meditation and sensei domains. Practice courtyards are formed around existing trees
keeping the past elements of the site as relevant markers for the future
The planar composition shields private spaces from direct view but allows viewing from galleries which connect to campus pathways.
One side of the scheme fronts the existing tennis courts as a grandstand whilst framing the practice courts in the other direction.

The scheme is delicately balanced with an architecture of planar screens of varying opaqueness
defining courtyards, tunnels, streets and walls which are naturally lit and ventilated.
The scheme allows a degree of interchangeabilty in the useage of its indoor and outdoor spaces for the range of art forms it accommodates
The proportions of the constructional elements and the

2005
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