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The Melbourne University project is the result of an international competition, organized in 2009. The focus of the competition, beyond housing the new facilities of the Melbourne University architecture department –and its related disciplines—was to rethink the entire challenge of architectural education to give priority to four themes: the ‘academic environment’, the ‘suspended studio’, the ‘living building’, and ‘built pedagogy’, all themes that cover certain urgencies of this time, while projecting forward various ambitions for the future.

The new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning responds to the urban design values identified in the Campus Master Plan and enhances the existing open spaces within the historic core of the Centre Precinct of the Parkville Campus. It engages with the existing landscape elements, continues the sequence of outdoor rooms arrayed across the campus, and links strongly to the intricate network of circulation routes that surround the site. The new building compliments and enhances the sense of place that the Eastern Precinct of the Parkville Campus already commands.

The coffered ceiling acts as the fifth elevation and must respond to the same environment as the other four façade.  Each coffer void angles toward the south to allow ample daylight down to the floor while perforated zinc slatted cowls over each opening protect from glare from high sun.  The figure of the continuous timber form expresses the forces of a hanging object drooping from the ceiling.   The surface of hanging studios itself transforms as it distances itself from the ceiling, becoming less planar and more baton formed. The surface also alternates from solid plywood surfaces to perforated panels back with acoustic batting to assist in softening the noise in the space.  The angled surface of the object itself aids in the distribution of sound rather than reflection.   

Condensing the dispersed set of stairs around the hall into the unique stacked stair condition.  A conventional series of straight run stairs linking L01 L02 L03 and L04 serves as a basis for an unconventional stair typology. At each mid landing of each straight run the stair splits and turns back as a return stair thus allowing the user to choose alternate routes to shorten their path to their given destination.  The configuration is repeated at each level but rotate 180 degrees producing a Piranasian lacing of pathways. 

The Joseph Reed designed the facade of the Bank of New South Wales to stand on Collins Street in downtown Melbourne over a century ago.  The facade was re-located  in 1938 on the center of campus with no particular relationship with the floors of the building it was attached to.  The latest appropriation  leaves the facade free of floor plates standing allowing the back to become plastic and morph it’s openings to meet the western bridge at level 02.  The large “nose” becomes an intimate workspace for a studio reinforced by a long table extending from the plaster wall.  

The weatherproof envelope of the building is most apparently revealed to the south, and here specific elements of the functional program find expression. Constructed of precast concrete panels the surface is patterned with a corrugated texture that is the reverse of the texture of the material utilized for the screen. The relationship between cast and mold can be understood at the corner conditions where the façade turns east and west, and the corrugated metal panels peel and stand off from the precast concrete surface.

Collaborating Architect: John Wardle Architects
Principals in Charge: John Wardle & Stefan Mee
Design Coordinator: Stefan Mee
Senior Associate: Meaghan Dwyer
Project Manager: Stephen Georgalas
Project Team: Bill Krotiris, Andy Wong, Jasmin Williamson, Adam Kolsrud, Alex Peck, Barry Hayes, Jeff Arnold, Amanda Moore, James Loder, Sharon Crabb, Yohan Abhayaratne, Rebecca Wilkie, Ben Sheridan, Giorgio Marfella, Kirrilly Wilson, Elisabetta Zanella, Adrian Bonaventura, Genevieve Griffiths, Michael Barraclough, Matthew Browne, Maria Bauer, Anja Grant

Collaborating Architect: NADAAA Inc.
Principal in Charge: Nader Tehrani
Project Manager: John Chow
Design Coordinator: Arthur Chang
Project Team: Katie Faulkner, AIA; Daniel Gallagher, AIA; James Juricevich, Parke MacDowell, Marta Guerra Pastrián, Tim Wong, Ryan Murphy, Rich Lee, Kevin Lee, Ellee Lee, Amin Tadj

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