Melbourne School of Design, The University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects & NADAAA in collaboration
Educational Architecture: Daryl Jackson Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The Melbourne School of Design (MSD) has given the University of Melbourne a building of outstanding quality and delivered a complex educational program. As an urban design move, it clarifies circulation in this part of the Parkville campus. The building successfully engages with its context in distinctively different ways, such as the sculptured landscape of the south lawn above the building’s submerged library and the activated main entry court to the east. The Joseph Reed-designed heritage facade is skilfully integrated both internally (with humour) and externally through the juxtaposition of finely detailed perforated corrugated zinc sunscreens. A major circulation path runs through the building. This has the benefit of showing off the MSD’s workings, such as the digital fabrication laboratory, timber workshop and library. There are also two major exhibition spaces on the ground floor. Education is on full display.
Every space within the building is exploited to create breakout spaces, learning and study opportunities and places for functions and events. The spectacular central atrium, with its finely detailed suspended timber-clad studios, provides excellent visual and physical interconnection between students and staff. The building explains its operation through architecture. It reveals layers of construction as tools to teach. The exposure of building systems, jointing techniques and operable elements like windows and partitions is a lesson in itself. A high level of detail is evident throughout the building, in spite of the variety and complexity of spaces and functional requirements.
The Melbourne School of Design sets new standards in the design of education facilities. It takes every opportunity to foster collaboration in undergraduate and graduate research, teaching and learning as well as cleverly integrating a variety of materials and construction and fabrication techniques. The building is itself an education vehicle, a veritable architecture of pedagogy.
Read the project review by Sandra Kaji-O’Grady from Architecture Australia Jan/Feb 2015.