The new Architecture Department facilities located at Monash University were specifically designed for the purpose of teaching and researching the discipline of architecture. Spaces include flexible design studios, academic and research offices, administration and meeting rooms, a CAD/CAM laboratory and a series of informal areas for students and staff.
Five key criteria emerged during the concept and design development which carried through to the final scheme. These included: fostering a collegiate learning environment that recognised the importance of casual social interaction in promoting discourse; promoting the schools engagement with cutting edge technology and the critical use of workshop facilities as part of architectural education; providing flexible spaces which maximised the opportunity for different pedagogical models and modes of teaching; establishing circulation paths as important zones for exhibition and places to foster casual interaction; rigorously incorporating environmentally sustainable design principles.
The exploration of learning scenarios specific to the study of architecture translates into folded walls that loft between a series of idealized sections, each denoting a single function. These “lofted walls” create ambiguous conditions to be appropriated by the students and staff as they see fit. Constructed of hard-wearing rubber sheet and bulletin-board for the display and presentation of student work, the lofted walls simultaneously operate as bench seat, work bench, model stand, projection screen, computer desk or any other indeterminate purpose. Key to the spatial layout of the department is the premise that informal pathways, meeting areas and residual spaces should act as interstitial zones to allow for unprogrammed learning and teaching activities.
Project Team: Andrew Simpson, Steve Hatzellis, Owen West, Stephan Bekhor, Dennis Prior, Eugene An, Ellie Farrell, Olena Demyanenko
Builder: Blythe-Sanderson Construction
Photography: Peter Bennetts