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Monash University Caulfield Campus: From bust to boom?

Recently editor Mark Baljak took a look at the construction program currently underway at Monash University's Clayton campus. As a follow-up piece, I'll explore the happenings at Monash's Caulfield campus which was/is subject to some grand plans.

In years gone by Monash Caulfield was subject to a $300m 'Monash Village' scheme, to be delivered jointly between the tertiary institution and developer/builder Equiset. The failed project would have included 436 student apartments across numerous buildings, two office buildings, a shopping centre and an underground carpark, all designed by NH Architecture.

Additionally the scheme would have included a new a multi-level Law faculty building designed by BVN Architecture with a major new library at its core. The project was due to be completed by December 2011.

The failed Monash Village proposal. Image © NH Architecture

Campus vision

The Caulfield campus will be recognised as a prestigious inner-city campus. The balance of urban intensity and high quality public realm will be further enriched by strong connections to the surrounding region.

The mix of professional and creative courses will draw together a diverse campus community united by a shared commitment to education.

Campus Masterplan 2011-2030

The GFC has failed to dampen the ambitions of the University for its Caulfield campus. Monash University's Caulfield Campus Masterplan 2011-2030 prepared by MGS Architects aims to better integrate and unify an otherwise disparate assortment of buildings and develop a centralised spine of quality public realm in addition to more intimate pockets.

The masterplan calls for the design of buildings with strong permeability at the ground plane and key pedestrian interfaces to create a localised Campus Village with an accessible transport network at its door step.

Campus Masterplan 2011-2030. Image © MGS Architects

NH Architecture returning to the fold?

Following the failure of Monash Village, Monash University have directly engaged NH Architecture to continue work on the western precinct via the NRAS funding scheme. Included within the design is a highly recognisable 26 level residential tower dominated by shades of pink to red.

The distinctive Pink Tower. Image © NH Architecture

NH Architecture’s design for Monash Village on a 1.6 hectare site consists of a collection of six new 14-26 storey buildings comprising 1,000 student apartments, commercial office space, educational facilities, retail tenancies, a supermarket, and car parking.

The network of vibrant open spaces between the buildings incorporates a north-south pedestrian street with lanes feeding into it from the existing retail strip to the west and the University campus to the east. The plan links into and reinforces the local streets, campus pathways, and connections to public transport.

NH Architecture

While a new set of project images have appeared on the NH Architecture website, little has been said publicly of the project's fate or intentions of Monash University regarding redevelopment of Caulfield.

Law Business and Economics Complex?

Monash LBEC. Image © MCR

Adding to uncertainty is the status of a key anchor to the redevelopment of the campus's western precinct. The new Law Business and Economics Building which would see a consolidation of the various faculties into one, is a result of an invited design competition in which McBride Charles Ryan were successful. Having been previously covered by Urban Melbourne, its status is currently unknown with the Law faculty's involvement reportedly in doubt.

Comment: the future

Together with the multi-staged Caulfield Village development to the south-west, the Caulfield campus presents an opportunity to redefine central Caulfield as a National Employment Cluster as set out in Plan Melbourne. A series of other mid-rise residential developments directly opposite the campus on Dandenong Road hint at the transformation about to occur in the area.

It is key that the campus integrates itself into the community. Dandenong Road doesn't help the cause particularly when it comes to providing a pleasant and welcoming pedestrian environment as well as a 'front door' to the campus, but hopefully the ambitions and intent of the master plan come to fruition soon enough, along with some daring architecture.

See more images on the NH Architecture project page.

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