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National Library Singapore, Singapore

An early adopter of integrating performance-based fire engineering in composite steel structures

The National Library Board’s (NLB) vision was to create an inspirational state-of the-art facility that combined a building for the tropics with the latest information technology.

Seamless connection

Arup met the library’s complex communications needs with a system that integrates business, management and building functions to create a highly efficient and ‘intelligent’ environment. The system provides visitors and staff with library access, office networks, wireless networking, information displays, conference facilities and intelligent building features.

Innovative design

As one of the first structures in Singapore to have its composite steel structure designed using performance-based fire engineering, the library does not rely on strict adherence to prescriptive building codes. This means that design features like the bare steel structure and steel floor beams, could still be expressed while ensuring, in the event of a fire, it will be structurally stable.


A building for the tropics

Singapore’s tropical climate necessitates heavy shading on the façade to reduce solar heat, both to enhance occupant comfort and protect the sensitive book collection. Arup developed sunshades that give a 30 degree solar cutoff shading for the façade, preventing direct sunlight from entering the building during the middle of the day. The wide sunshades were erected around the perimeter of the building, on both the exterior and the interior. These bounce daylight off of the ceilings to give deep light penetration for a comfortable reading environment.

Studies of window height and shade spacing were undertaken to optimise the efficiency of these shades and the angles in which they should be set. By designing the shades as a unitised curtain wall, the entire façade was erected in a matter of weeks.