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Monash University delivers again with a new design showpiece

Monash University's Clayton Campus has had cause to become a regular on Urban Melbourne owing to the volume of new buildings delivered across the sprawling campus over the past five years, and the calibre of design associated with these recent additions.

The latest addition was revealed yesterday with $45 million seeded to create a new performance centre. Dubbed the The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts, major funding contributions for the project will see $5 million from The Ian Potter Foundation and $10 million from the Victorian Government.

Included within the project is a revamped 586-seat Alexander Theatre, a 130-seat Sound Gallery, 200-seat Jazz Club and extensive surrounding landscaping. The Jazz Club will be a multipurpose facility, acting as a cafe during daytime hours.

Cafe by day, club by night. Image: Monash University

The investment by the Victorian Government aids in transforming the Alexander Theatre into a versatile and truly contemporary performance space, strengthening its historical and cultural significance in the Greater Melbourne region. The Ian Potter Foundation has shown us such extraordinary support, not just for our current and ongoing projects, but for our vision and has allowed us to pursue our ambition with our new performing arts precinct.

The Minister for Training and Skills the Hon Steve Herbert MLC said the redevelopment will ensure the campus will remain an exciting community destination for arts and cultural activity in Melbourne’s south-east. This redevelopment isn’t just a win for the staff and students of Monash University; it’s a win for the local community who will also have access to the state-of-the-art facilities.

Professor Margaret Gardner AO, President and Vice-Chancellor, Monash University

The project is the work of Peter Elliott Architecture and Urban Design, and continues Monash University's path toward improved design and greater campus diversification. According to the institution, 600,000 non-student visitors utilised the University's facilities last year.

Slated to open during early 2018, The Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts joins a number of current and recently completed projects across the Clayton campus. Peter Elliott Architecture is also behind the redesign of The Forum which runs through the heart of the campus, while John Wardle Architects have created The Learning & Teaching Building, which is currently under construction and abuts the new performing arts centre.

The Learning & Teaching Building. Image: John Wardle Architects

Designated as the new gateway to the University, The Learning & Teaching Building will host a number of faculties and act as the University's main teaching facility.

The Learning & Teaching Building demonstrates a shift away from the modernist stand-alone tower, instead incorporating a horizontal field of spaces set within a broad, low rise building. The learning activities of the interior are, in this way, made visible and accessible to the wider campus and community, rather than removed from the ground in a vertical structure.

Streets, courtyards, bridges, balconies and stairs are transformed into ravines, clearings, strands, perches, escarpments and amphitheatres that are choreographed to invent a new landscape of the interior.

John Wardle Architects

Over recent years, Urban Melbourne has had cause to highlight the impressive and diverse architecture on show at Monash University Clayton. New Horizons began the ball rolling, and was followed by the Green Chemical Futures Building. Thereafter multiple student accommodation buildings were built, effectively remodelling a large section of the campus and creating a new urban walk in the process.

The latter follow on from the BVN Architecture-designed Briggs & Jackomos student housing halls which collected multiple awards, both locally and internationally.

Assorted recent additions to Monash University Clayton
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