- “Campus in a Playground”
Everyone longs to pursue their studies up to the university level. Apart from the excitement of finally getting to choose our preferred field to explore, we could also feel the euphoria of not needing to keep a mundane hairstyle nor put on an uninspiring uniform daily. On the other hand, with more flexibility with the nature of a tertiary education system, students tend to take their attendance for granted by escaping from classes for the most far-fetched reasons.
As the perception goes, university level is most defining stage of our lives in terms of our future career. It is also the bridge and transition between teenage and adulthood. As how it sounds stressful and obligatory, we would like to inject new perspective and concept into a university campus context. “Play” and “Interaction” will be the repetitive notions to be encountered throughout the campus.
Several new components have been introduced to create a conducive and informal learning environment for the students. The diverse activities of work, learn, play and eat will all be intermingled like a melting pot instead of segregating the process of learning and playing. A wide variety of interesting and inspiring venues or events can be revolved physically or visually just within every step away. One may wander around the seamless double loops of the U.M. Sentral with panoramic view of every angle of the external sceneries.
In addition, U.M. Sentral is surrounded by several leisure, sports and interactive learning programmes such as botanical garden, Rimba Ilmu hiking trail, sports facilities, water sports, amphitheatre and study pods. On top of that, the proposed “park-and- ride” shared bicycle system is expected to be in favour among the students as it is ideal as a means of transportation internally, leisure activity, exercise equipment and last but not least, they are free-of- charge for students.
With the richness of these programmes, the campus will submerge within this large “playground” while the students will feel at ease throughout their learning and leisure process.
- “Central Core Hybrid Building”
The current U.M. planning has identified the centre core of the campus is the chancellor hall, library and the varsity lake. However, these spaces are uninviting and undefined resulting in under-utilisation with inefficient maintenance cost. Apart from that, there are sheltered areas and an amphitheatre adjacent to the chancellor hall for the students to hold events and functions. The provided spaces are limited and uncomfortable especially under the hot and rainy climate.
The proposed hybrid core centre has centralised the major components such as the library, commercial and F&B areas, Students Union, administrative office, amphitheater, communal spaces for student events, Chancellor building and botanical garden. These components will be located altogether within or around the large double-loop building which are seamlessly connected and walkable. In addition, the hybrid building has been equipped with several bridges which link directly to the respective surrounding faculties, enabling the staffs and students to maneuver comfortably and conveniently to their designated venues.
In addition, the proposed hybrid building consists of several common and public spaces which will be conveniently accessible and utilised by the students and staffs. For instance the large indoor open-plan common area, amphitheatre and the courtyard event space have encouraged the students to interact among different faculties and get inspired out of their usual syllabus. In addition to its contrary to segregation, the newly-introduced common spaces and facilities which are more defined will naturally invite the users to fully-utilise the programmes and avoid issue like redundancy of space.
Another advantage of creating a centralised core is its ability to gather most of the activities and crowds at a close proximity with constant interaction. As such, apart from being able to achieve better energy efficiency, the staffs and students will have the physical and perceptual confidence to maneuver around the campus at all times. In addition, the new library will be located in the aforesaid hybrid building which is walkable and directly-connected to other main components especially the faculties. The library users are no longer required to get exposed to the weather and criss-crossing traffics in order to get to the library.
- “Income Generation”
With the uprising maintenance costs of the university, it is necessary and essential to look into solutions not only through energy and cost savings, but also generating income in order to sustain the burdening expenditures in a long run. Several of the newly-proposed and revitalised components are not only beneficial to the education system and conduciveness of the campus, but also able to sustain financially by optimising their functions as income-generating tools. The proposed solutions are as follow:
a) Sports Complex & National Sports Academy: A full-fletched world-class sports facility can be opened for public rental and training venue for the national sportsmen. The institution can also consider collaboration with the Ministry of Sports to appeal for subsidy and sponsorship
b) Boutique Hotel: An iconic boutique hotel located at the entry point of the university gate can be operated under U.M. to cater for all visitors such as students’ family, exchange students, conference attendees, visiting sportsmen, etc. while generating more income
c) Short-term Hostel Rental: The university shall also consider renting out the student accommodations in a short-term basis particularly during the semester breaks to generate income
d) Commercial Activities: U.M Sentral has provided many new commercial lots for retails and F&B outlets not only for the convenience of the students but also generate income through rental
e) “Park-&- Ride” Shared Bicycle System: Apart from serving as a means of transportation for the staffs and students, the bicycle could be rented out to visitors at certain charges for leisure rides around the campus. In addition, advertising posters can be attached to the bicycles to generate income for the long-term maintenance of the system
f) Rimba Ilmu Hiking Trail: A small amount of admission fee can be collected from the visitors who wish to hike the Rimba Ilmu
g) Reserved Bungalow Lots: The reserved bungalow lots located at the western U.M. could be further developed in the future by selling to private investors or own development in order to optimise the available land use and generate income