By Sean Loo
The opening of the new eco-friendly Sports and Recreation Centre, named The Wave, marks a new milestone in Singapore’s push to be more productive in construction, said Minister for National Development and Second Finance Minister Lawrence Wong.
Located next to the University’s running track, The Wave is one of only four developments in Singapore that have adopted the timber construction method.
Speaking at the facility’s official opening on 24 April, Mr Wong told students, faculty and members of the public: “For all of this (Singapore’s) infrastructure, we will end up simply with a far larger pool of foreign workers than we can possibly accommodate in Singapore.
“The shortage of workers ends up becoming a bottleneck and constraint on our development.”
Mr Wong added: “But if we were to use similar technologies like what NTU has done for all our construction projects, we can potentially carry out billions more in projects with the same number of workers today.”
The Wave was built by assembling prefabricated components, which are pre-made in factories, allowing for easy assembly.
This not only sped up construction by 33 per cent, but also resulted in 25 per cent reduction in manpower. It took 14 workers three weeks to assemble the wavy roof.
The Wave also holds the distinction of being the first large-scale building in Southeast Asia to be built completely using mass-engineered timber.
Layers of timber panels are glued together and later cut to specific dimensions.
It provides five times better heat insulation than concrete and is also strong enough to support the building’s 72-metre roof without internal columns or pillars.
The space saved allows The Wave to hold 13 badminton courts or three full-sized basketball courts.
NTU’s upcoming campus residences at Nanyang Crescent will also be constructed using eco-friendly technology.
The Wave is home to activity rooms for exercise classes and sports teams usage, training rooms, a viewing gallery, 980 mechanised retractable seats and a special cooling system that chills the air as it enters the hall.
Mohamed Husaini, a third-year School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences student, hopes that the new facilities will mean more opportunities for students to book basketball and badminton courts.
“The current facilities we have (located in the old SRC building) are quite limited and small,” the 26-year-old said.
The Wave will also have a new weight training gym catered to the NTU sports teams.
There are, however, no plans to open the gym to all users for the time being.
Even more beautiful
During the opening ceremony of The Wave, NTU President Professor Bertil Andersson expressed his admiration of the architecture of the newly constructed building.
Referring to an article by the Business Insider that ranked NTU as one of the 15 most beautiful schools around the world, Prof Andersson remarked: “With the opening of the wave, I would say that the most beautiful has become even more beautiful.”