Lim Yan Cheng, Harvey
Robotics Pop-Up Schools: A MOE Primary School Attachment Programme

Thesis Supervisor: A/P Dr. Joseph Lim

The current education system in Singapore has recently began a heavier emphasis/focus on application learning, to promote creativity and learning by play-making. This is being observed in mostly at the primary education level.


The premise of the project was established based on the present insufficiencies in the current educational facilities, which is attributed to the limitations of the physical school building in enabling the testing of student creations in a specialised curriculum for this new style of learning. There is a need to take the learning outside of the physical school and into the outside world; such that students can therefore learn from real experiences and live application in real environments. 

Given that world today embraces future technology and automation, robots are increasingly used to perform tasks to assist humans in everyday life be it military applications or agricultural, industrial applications and we will see even wider spread use to come. Hence, there’s relevancy of an education that imparts knowledge and IT/computing & the hands-on skills that are tied to AI and robotics.


The project proposes a form of a modular architecture system capable of being built by students and instructors that can adapted to the site of choice for the programme (using special attachments and different supporting systems) at 2 chosen example sites.

View Zoom Critique Here:

Marine Parade Canal
Site One

The first example site is situated at the Marine parade canal in between Ngee Ann primary school and Victoria Junior College, and cuts through the East Coast Park and leads into the sea. The water level is considerably deep and the drainage canal is wide. The importance to keep the canal clean before the water re-enters the sea presents opportunities for students and their robotic creations to engage with.

Bukit Timah Quarry
Site Two

The second site at Bukit Timah quarry, is known for its natural rock wall formation which also presents another interesting opportunity for the pop-up school setup and for the students to interact with the natural environment.

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The main building blocks of the proposed architectural system are the fibreglass and carbon fibre box modules. The fibreglass box modules can be joined together on site from mainly 3-4 pieces. The storage and work spaces integrated in each completed fibreglass box module.

The modular carbon fibre box module (2.4m x 2.4m x2.5m standard dimension) are connected by specially designed plugs, secured by fastening bolts and plates. Each adopts the same frame but has different inlays for different furniture and storage spaces. Special fixtures are needed for site adaptation purposes.


Involving students in the assembly process of the pop-ups (like playing with lego) adds to the educational experience of a hands-on learning approach that involves alot of building and asembling. The modules are light enough to be carried on site by the students enabling them to be a part of the building process with certified instructors/assembly workers. The supporting frame structures are specific to site and are assembled first before the modules can plug into the frame to complete the assembly of each pop-up workshop.

The Workshop Space
Adapted to the
Marine Parade Canal

The supporting frame structure consists of floatation ballasts enabling the workshop pop-up to float above the canal water and stretch across the canal (and rise and fall with the water level). Students can assemble water drones that can perform cleaning operations in the canal and immediately test them in the canal from the floating pop-up upon completion.   

The Workshop Space
Adapted to
Bukit Timah Quarry

Specific to this site, are additional support structures to support the pop-up workshop spaces cantilevered from the natural rock wall of the Bukit Timah Quarry. The natural environment presents itself as a interesting environment for creative and exciting play by the students.The above ground space presents the opportunity for students to test out their robotic creations with a spectacular scenery with huge aerial spaces for flying drones while the rock surface presents students the opportunity to test out rocking climbing events with climbing robots.