Raffles University Iskandar

Raffles University Iskandar (RUI) is a design school currently under development in Iskandar, Malaysia. The new 23,000-square-meter campus will house several design disciplines—including fashion, interior, graphic, and multimedia design—under a single roof. The site is part of a larger group of institutions that together form “EduCity,” a collection of complementary academic institutions, R&D centers, dormitories, and sports facilities.

SOM's campus design makes use of a courtyard—a common characteristic of buildings in the region—to create a large, communal, and lush central garden, known as “the Quad.” The three-story building has an innovative programmatic arrangement: an open-plan floor of collaborative spaces situated between the lower level staff areas and the upper level classrooms. Shared spaces, such as the cafeteria, library, and performance areas, seamlessly flow together on the radically open middle level—providing flexibility and supporting a creative and spontaneous campus culture.

The RUI building integrates several environmental design features aimed to reduce the project’s carbon footprint. The large-scale use of shading devices, including louvers and arcades, helps shield many of the building's exterior surfaces from excessive UV radiation. In addition, a thin floor plate allows natural air circulation that limits the need for extensive HVAC systems throughout the building. Finally, Malaysian timber, an environmentally conscious and readily available material, is used for the building's expansive roof.