This teaching, research and engagement centre in the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Graduate School of Education embodies an overtly exaggerated response to the brief. It’s a mix of different spaces that are flexible not unlike a Transformer. Through progressive innovation, StudioFive breaks new ground in pedagogical environments by pushing the capabilities of each zone with more daring than is expected.
The interior’s robustness feels brave and confident and this lends the project longevity. Breakout areas add a domestic scale to the overall scheme and create room to either retreat quietly by oneself or collaborate in a group. While each highly functional space is distinct, the intricacy of the ceiling – in its many theatrical variations – is the unifying factor visually drawing everything together. The level of detailing and finish is excellent, but the designers have thoughtfully made sure it never overshadows the programmatic requirements. They’ve been able to look beyond mere embellishment to realize a heightened environment conducive to achieving the best pedagogical outcomes possible.
Repurposed from an existing office building, StudioFive is a space that generates pedagogies to meet the needs of twenty-first-century learners and is one of seven international United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization observatories. The project’s design is underpinned by a need to design for an unknown future. The key paradigm was to establish the pedagogy and challenge the preconceived spatial associations as a component of learning. Environments merge between highly detailed bespoke resolutions and generic and reconfigurable spaces, easily allowing for intuitive uses and ongoing flexibility.
The Workplace Design award is sponsored by Laminex. The Australian Interior Design Awards are presented by the Design Institute of Australia and Artichoke magazine. For more images of this project, see the Australian Interior Design Awards gallery.