This week we wanted to push our ideas further and we started questioning ourselves what exactly is unique to NTU?
We went back to the roots of NTU. In 1955, the university was founded as Nanyang University, which is the first and only Chinese university outside mainland China and Taiwan. As it is known as the people’s university, students and faculties had a strong sense of belonging to the school and worked hard in the construction of the school. What sparked us is the “Nantah Spirit”. The Nantah Spirit is the close bonding and teamwork that is seen in the university. An example is the Nantah Lake which was renamed Nanyang Lake during the NTI days.
This picture shows the construction of the Nantah Lake. The lake was constructed from a muddy lakebed by Nanyang University students in 1961. Students are seen here working tirelessly as they are proud of their school. This serves as a unique icon of perseverance, dedication and team spirit that the Nanyang University students had.
At present, the Nanyang Lake is home to many different species of flora and fauna. Through observation, it is still a hangout spot for dating couples and student gatherings in the evenings. However, the number of students visiting the Nanyang Lake is decreasing. Most students, when asked, have not visited the lake. It is scorching hot during the day and there are no sheltered pavilions that students can relax and appreciate the lake.
There are benches placed around the lake that are donated by different graduating batches. It has a unique design but these stone benches are way too hot during the day for people to sit.
Another example of the Nantah Spirit was the construction of the Student Union House, known today as the Nanyang House. The Student Union House was constructed after five years of hard work. It overcame all odds through the combined effort of Nanyang University students. The following images illustrate the strong sense of patriotism and the close team spirit among students.
Through our research, we realise that the Nantah Spirit was very special and unique to NTU but unfortunately was lost along the way and is no longer seen in students today. We want to bring the sense of belonging and team spirit back to NTU which was a trait of Nanyang University students.
We chose the element of “Play” to help us tell our story through a fun and interactive installation. A see-saw is fun to play but at the same time requires some form of coordination from different individuals.
Our concept is to create a shelter/pavilion situated at the Nanyang Lake that includes a sitting see-saw. Its shelter is also able to harness solar energy to generate the lights at night, making it attractive for students to patronise the area after lessons and experience the installation. Eventually making it a nicer environment for students and they will feel a stronger sense of belonging to the school.
More details of the concept and design will be elaborated in Part 2.