RACE Robotics Laboratory, Singapore

For client: PBA SYSTEMS PTE LTD Floor area: 243.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Learning Space of the Year

Public Score
6.79 Function
7.21 Innovation
7.23 Creativity
01 Race Enclave Hero Sized

We created a future-forward backdrop to incentivise mid-career professionals to embrace robotics

About the Project

Amid Singapore’s national drive to increase productivity, RACE (Robotics Automation Centre of Excellence) seeks to incentivise manufacturers to embrace robotics, to “future-proof” their businesses. The exhibition design is characterized by modularity and is influenced by the aesthetics of precision and dynamism.

The brief for the laboratory space required flexibility to showcase a changing series of modular robots as well as to be used for hands-on training and lectures. It needed to be a continuous open space, yet conducive for small clusters for hands-on training. Also, the entire facility had to be “transportable”, for PBA to relocate in 2 years’ time, built under S$300,000, and constructed within a tight timeframe.

For maximum flexibility and eventual relocation, we introduced a "second skin”, developed to seamlessly create a dynamic space by deconstructing the ceiling and wall planes into an array of facets. Each facet comprises stacked layers of hand-cut aluminium hollow tubing, rotated in multi directions, with custom LED lighting strips.

The skin acts as a natural sectioning device to create enclaves for small group settings. The aluminium screen cloaks the necessary but unsightly MEP services while allowing ease of access. We tested a variety of sizes for the metal tubes, weighing aesthetics and cost, to optimize the spacing for sufficient air-conditioning, yet hiding the unsightly wires visually. The metal framework can be demounted from the base structure for easy relocation.

What’s unique about it

RACE (Robotics Automation Centre of Excellence) has hosted more than 800 guests since the launch, and held more than 40 training sessions till now, e.g. for Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA), Building and Construction Authority Singapore, Ministry of Education Secondary Schools, Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), covering about 400 trainees in total.

Manufacturing companies, government agencies, and schools have commented that RACE provides a future-forward backdrop for robotics technology. We believe the project has been successful in not just exhibiting robotics but motivating mid-career professionals to embrace it, not fear it.

Ms. Lavanya Karthikeyan, one of the trainees, says, “RACE successfully increases the excitement and motivation for someone making a mid-career switch to robotics and embrace technology. Robotics isn’t new per se, but RACE immediately impacts you with the sense that “this is new”, and “this is the future.” The tech vibe is that of a startup and one can sense that upon walking into the space.”

We are heartened by the positive response. All of this was achieved within tight constraints, e.g. a limited budget of S$300,000, a tight timeframe, and the condition that the entire facility had to be “transportable”. Overall, the space provides a suitable future-forward backdrop to usher in an age of automation and robotics.

02 Race Exterior Sized

At the lift lobby, the black&white web of anamorphic art creates a distinct & disorienting entrance.

03 Race Entrance Sized

A custom oversized-door pivots open to reveal a dramatic metallic faceted space

04 Race Signage Sized

Inspired by modularity, the logo is an expression of a complete form comprised of individual parts

05 Race Robotics Lab Sized

For maximum flexibility, we created a "second" skin to act as natural enclaves for small groups

06 Race Robots Installed Sized

The metal framework can be demounted from the base structure, for easy relocation.

07 Race Detail Sized

Each facet comprises stacked layers of hand-cut aluminum hollow tubing; rotating in multi directions

08 Race Enclave Sized

The random sprinkle of custom LED strips serves to highlight the multi-directional panels

09 Race Service Hatch Sized

The aluminum screen cladding cloaks the necessary but unsightly MEP services while allowing access

10 Race Users Fb2 Desat3

Trainees say RACE provides a modern innovative “Tron-like” environment to learn about robotics

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