Monash University Learning and Teaching Building by John Wardle Architects
Educational Architecture: National Award
Australian Institute of Architects
The Learning and Teaching Building is situated adjacent to Monash University’s main entrance on Wellington Road, immediately to the east of the main bus interchange. It forms a new gateway to the university and defines a built edge in line with the campus masterplan. The project comprises a multi-faculty learning facility for first-year students where innovative formal learning and teaching spaces are grouped in clusters and are complemented by informal learning hubs that deliver a variety of study spaces in addition to contemporary staff workspaces.
A vast number of varied learning areas are interconnected in concept by feature central atrium spaces perforated with skylights to draw natural light into the interior, where a series of large, sculptural, brick-clad forms draw the broader campus into the interior through the use of an external building material. A strong theme for the design is how one navigates the various streets, courtyards, bridges, balconies, stairs and amphitheatres as they are all choreographed to invent a new interior landscape, particularly successful when experienced from the ground plane.
The building represents a renewed commitment to bringing teaching and learning spaces from traditional didactic spaces into a much more contemporary mode. Spaces such as teaching-in-the-round seminar rooms are tested in this new building as the university is intent on developing a strong pedagogy model of peer-to-peer learning.
For more coverage, read the project review by Rachel Hurst.