University of Melbourne's new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning complex has recently been completed. Under the guise of the Melbourne School of Design, the new John Wardle and NADAAA designed building is located within the heart of the university's Carlton campus fronting Masson Road.
Subject to an international design competition, 133 submissions from 15 countries were initially received for the landmark structure. Six competing firms were subsequently invited to best deliver a design befitting of both the location and brief.
Included within the Melbourne School of Design are research spaces, lecture theatres, a library, exhibition and workshop spaces.
The architecture, inherent planning, spatial arrangements and configurations, particular programmatic adjacencies and relationships foster a rich, dynamic environment that becomes a point of stimulus, a catalyst for creativity and inventive design research.
With its many inventive structural and environmental ideas, the building becomes a live learning tool for students and staff alike. Connecting back into the network of buildings and courtyards, our design operates as an urban gesture reinforcing the workings and systems of the campus.
The transparent facades and open permeable ground plane reveals the creative and collaborative activities to the rest of the university community.John Wardle Architects
The competition jury noted the quality of the partnership between Melbourne based John Wardle Architects and Boston based practice Office dA. The Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Professor Tom Kvan, says their scheme showed a strong understanding of educational, environmental, and social issues in a design that would generate excitement for all staff and students.
The winning design showed a detailed understanding of the teaching and research activities of the Faculty and the potential for contribution to research across the campus.University of Melbourne
On August 8, 2014 the new Melbourne School of Design building was handed over to our Faculty by Brookfield Multiplex. This represented a key milestone in the life of a project which commenced back in 2008 when the University of Melbourne first approved funding for the construction of a new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.
The intent was to create a landmark building for the University of Melbourne with world-class facilities for staff and students, and to establish a new standard for design education, research and delivery.Melbourne School of Design
The new building has also received a 6 Star Green Star Education Design – V1 rating via the Green Building Council of Australia. With a tally of 83 points the Melbourne School of Design is the largest building to strike this rating. According to the University of Melbourne it's their first 6 Star rated building and the only building to ever be awarded all 10 innovation points under the Green Building Council of Australia metric.
This is a building of great contrasts for mine; that it can speak volumes from certain angles and be mute from others is a little puzzling. In a general sense the building looks great when softened by the associated landscaping, yet altogether inhospitable over the eastern facade where the building spills on to an inactive forecourt.
Again the mesh screens look impressive from the northern aspect, but when applied over precast panels it looks more car park than design force. The southern facade evokes little emotion/response - which is a problem in itself - while the overall design I can appreciate but have no great admiration for.
Of course the building is not judged solely on wow factor, as was evidenced by the project winning a citation at this year's Annual Progressive Architecture Awards. Held in New York, Melbourne School of Design was one of only ten buildings to receive the award from 150 entrants. While the internal configuration will be subject to another article, the Melbourne School of Design will be open to the public come the first of December; well worth a visit if you are in a position to do so.
Enjoy the extensive image set of the Melbourne School of Design below, bearing in mind the incorporated historic western facade has yet to be revealed owing to continuing remediation works.