The Digital Valley is envisioned as a new catalyst to spatially and programmatically bridge the academia, research and industry communities together for the new School of Computing (SoC). The cantilevering effect of this design accentuates the value of the existing natural valley in an undisturbed manner and stretches to connect as a spine from the old SoC block to the opposite SNC block.
Entering from the existing SoC COM 2, it leads directly to an inviting open plaza located on the ground level. As one of the internal courtyards, it promotes natural ventilation and allows for warm sunlight filtering through the large canopy. It comfortably sets out as a focal meeting point that brings people together. As such, casual seating in groups is provided under the shaded canopy to encourage exchanges and mingles. Furthermore, an exhibition area is integrated in front to attract people’s attention in which it also leads to the subsequent view into the next internal courtyard downwards. Over here, the natural valley is revealed through this visual connection and allows a panoramic view of the overall new SoC.
The new canteen is redeveloped and is integral to sit on the right side of the entrance plaza. It strategically stretches out as a semi-open space for foods and thoughts. With the central kitchen zoned on one end, the flexible seating adapts an open concept that allows for interchangeable usages on the outer ring of the canteen for ad-hoc exhibition, performance and student club activities during non-peak hour. The seamless connection between the plaza and the canteen reinforces the sense of openness and serves as a transitional space leading to the internal research and collaboration areas.
To allow the dynamic environment where people learn, meet, share ideas and collaborate, the internal research and collaboration areas are configured in clusters. Each cluster can interchangeably be converted to form a larger group; within which pockets of breakout and discussion areas are inserted to better facilitate free-and-easy discussion between researchers and professors in a more relaxed setting. It also takes into consideration the demand of formal discussion in a more enclosed and quieter setting of meeting rooms within the clusters. These pocket spaces are designed to not only breaks the conventional long-corridor effect in most institutional layout, but also allow the space to become more engaging and less overwhelming.
Whereas, the seminar rooms are deliberately planned on the outmost location to facilitate better accessibility and opens to the public. They can be utilised for new showcase launch in which activity such as drone flying could be brought to the internal courtyard that is immediately in front within the close proximity. Other public spaces are also designed to foster more collaborative exchange, for instance the social deck, a restaurant and a cafe that are integrated on the lower level. These public and social spaces are clustered and located with the merit of having nice panoramic view both inwards and outwards looking.