By Nicole Lim
Assistant Director, Communications & External Relations
On 3 August, LKCMedicine students will step through the doors of the brand new Experimental Medicine Building (EMB) into a bespoke new learning environment, which will be completed when the Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) opens in 2016.
Artist's impression of EMB (left) on NTU's main campus in Yunnan Garden and CSB (right) at Novena
EMB, which sits on NTU’s 200ha main campus in Yunnan Garden, and the Novena-based CSB form the core of LKCMedicine’s dual campus. Fitted with learning, research and student facilities, the buildings are designed to inspire a new generation of medical students and drive medical innovations that aim to redefine medicine and transform healthcare.
LKCMedicine Dean Professor James Best said, “Our medical education takes into account how modern medicine is practised. Doctors work more and more in teams not only with other doctors but with other health professionals. So communication is one of the most important aspects of medical training.”
The two buildings, designed by awardwinning architecture firm DP Architects, aim to nurture a spirit of collaboration among their different occupants.
Executive Vice-Dean for Administration Professor Lionel Lee said, “Multidisciplinary collaboration lies at the core of the School’s mission and how we have built up our ‘software’. To bring this spirit to life, we want to imbue it into our hardware, our facilities and buildings, too.”
Even in drawing up the specifications for the building, the School adopted a collaborative approach, involving the different user groups throughout the process.
Director for Operations & Resources Mr Tan Hee Kiang said, “We involved all our users from the beginning to make sure that every space and facility meets their needs while being a building block towards the School’s vision.”
Now the more than two-year long design process is drawing to a close.
EMB completes Life Sciences cluster at NTU
With an 11m wide bougainvillea-lined link bridge connecting it to the School of Biological Sciences, LKCMedicine’s seven-storey EMB completes NTU’s Life Sciences cluster. The link bridge leads visitors straight to an open collaboration space with a café on Level 3. This is one of many collaboration spaces that shape the building.
“We want to create an environment where chance meetings can flourish into new ideas, because discoveries and innovations that translate into better outcomes for patients will most likely come from research that transcends traditional boundaries and disciplines,” said Vice-Dean for Research Professor Philip Ingham FRS.
LKCMedicine researchers will have access to world-class wet and dry laboratories; Collaboration spaces, such as this, are a hallmark of both buildings
From Level 3, visitors can access the upper floors via a wide and open stairwell. These floors will be home to researchers from LKCMedicine and NTU.
New teaching facilities will occupy the lower floors. These include a Teaching Laboratory with cutting-edge equipment for students to experiment and acquire knowledge in the basic medical sciences and a double-volume Learning Studio.
Future classrooms unite the two campuses
Replacing lecture theatres, the Learning Studio, which can sit 150 students or more for Team-Based Learning (TBL) lessons, is equipped with state-of-the-art IT systems, including screens hung from the periphery of the studio to give students a good view of learning and discussion materials. Despite its size, the circular design of the Learning Studio allows students to see each other no matter how far apart. To further increase engagement and facilitate discussion within teams, the School chose to fit the Learning Studio with small tables around which students gather during lessons.
The Learning Studio will also form the heart of learning facilities in the 20-storey CSB in Novena. It will be part of three floors dedicated to teaching facilities, which will also include immersive learning spaces. An internal staircase will connect the floors to facilitate movement between classrooms.
The Learning Studio at EMB, like its counterpart at CSB, will be able to sit 150 students or more
Vice-Dean for Education Associate Professor Naomi Low-Beer said, “Our curriculum is designed to nurture doctors who put patients at the heart of their exemplary care. From the first weeks of medical school, students develop vital skills in teamwork, communication and clinical practice through simulation, interactions with simulated patients and TBL. Our new buildings will provide state-of-the-art facilities to support learning, ensuring our students become competent and caring young doctors.”
The Alcove Cluster for team-based anatomy teaching
These facilities include the Alcove Cluster, built for team-based anatomy teaching; a Clinical Skills Laboratory complete with a four-bed mock ward, where students learn tasks such as stitching wounds on simulated patients; and a Communications Centre of 14 paired consultation and debrief rooms, which are fitted with the latest video equipment.
“The format of the rooms means that the student and simulated patient can interact without being distracted by the other students watching,” said Assistant Dean for Clinical Communication Training & Student Welfare Dr Tanya Tierney.
Year 1 student Sophia Wong is particularly excited about the simulation facilities. “We’ll learn more about medicine in terms of its application; it will tie in more with our theory and I think this will be really helpful for our training,” she said.
To promote greater integration of care, learning and research innovation between the School and its primary clinical partner hospital, CSB will be connected to Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s new Centre for Healthcare Innovation via a sky-bridge that will be ready in 2018.
Vice-Dean for Clinical Affairs Associate Professor Pang Weng Sun said, “The bridge symbolises the continual link between education and clinical service. Students will transit from learning in the school to learning and working in the healthcare environment. Graduates will walk across to their alma mater to teach and guide their juniors. The same concept will apply to various clinical settings to help our students transit from pre-clinical back to train the next generation.”
Nurturing a vibrant student life
CSB will also be a hub for student life. To provide a good study-life balance, it will have a floor dedicated to sport and music facilities as well as student lounges and House Rooms.
“By providing designated space for each House, the personality and ethos of the Houses can develop, increasing the sense of belonging the students feel for their House,” said Dr Tierney.
The rooftop library at CSB will enjoy panoramic views over the city skyline
Undoubtedly, the crowning glory of CSB will be the rooftop library with its panoramic views of the city skyline. The medical library will not only provide rich resources, but will also feature unique interactive spaces, which blend the indoors with the outdoors. The rooftop library at CSB will enjoy panoramic views over the city skyline
“The library will be an engaging place, where our users can enjoy several experiences, be it having a coffee in the café, viewing the exhibitions, quiet study, interacting with the librarians or with each other. Really, it will be a home away from home,” said Deputy Director and Head of Medical Library Ms Caroline Pang.
The library will be open to all healthcare professionals working in HealthCity Novena.
Carrying on the legacy of 11 Mandalay Road
While CSB may be the jewel of LKCMedicine’s dual campus, its heart lies in the heritage Headquarters building that anchors the Novena campus not just geographically but also historically.
The 90-year-old conservation building, which witnessed the rise of medical and nursing education in Singapore, serves as a physical reminder of the centuries of knowledge that underpin medicine. Building on this knowledge by adding skills necessary in modern medicine and biomedical research, LKCMedicine aims to live up to its inherited legacy.
Prof Best said, “We hope to create a legacy as an innovative medical school that trains doctors who advance the practice and science of medicine. Building on the traditions set by the Headquarters building’s former occupants, we hope to continue to attract the brightest young minds and are very encouraged by the continued strong interest in the School.”
With two student cohorts firmly embedded, LKCMedicine is already showing great promise at nurturing doctors who excel in the art and science of medicine.