Commendation for Public Buildings

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

The new building for RMIT’s Faculty of Art, Design and Communication explores the expressive characteristics of academic activity and the industrial processes of the printing industry. The two ends of the building (north and south elevations) appear as if sliced to a required length, with all the interior characteristics revealed. Structure, building fabric, mechanical and electrical elements, furniture and clear space are all expressed in cross-sectional profile. Frameless curtain walls cap these ends, providing an unencumbered transparency and creating a free association between the static and live elements of the interior and the space beyond. In contrast, the repeated structure and fabric of the two longitudinal elevations creates a sheer, constant, extruded surface expressive of the industrial artefact. Along the west elevation massive concrete columns are set within an uninterrupted, low-level, glazed curtain wall that exposes the systems and printing machinery of the training workshops. Repeated concrete precast panels, suspended above, refer to the exacting requirements of image registration in many printing processes and relate this to the architectural alignment of building fabric and structural grid. The jointing between the precast panels provides an interlocking shape suggestive of a finely detailed mortice. To the east a sheer two storey wall of inclined glazing provides a complete view of student activity within.

RMIT’s program of commissioning innovative architecture and urban design for its campuses continues unabated, and with pronounced success, in its Printing Facility for the Faculty of Art, Design and Communication at the Brunswick Campus. The two storey building handsomely provides a new definition to the western edge of the open and formerly irresolute centre of the campus. It is a robust work of industrial campus architecture, with its north and south elevations stated as cut ends capped by transparent curtain walls and its two longitudinal elevations stated as repeated extruded surface, structure and fabric. Sheer, inclined glass and metal are seen to the east; repeated precast panels (a reference to repetitive printing processes) and low level curtain wall to the west. The Printing Facility clearly separates training spaces and student concourse, elevates and transparently displays its functions and disciplines, and makes an enduring and determining positive contribution to both the Brunswick Campus and the RMIT-grown suite of exemplary buildings.
RMIT Printing Facility, Brunswick Campus
Project Architects in Association John Wardle Architects and Demaine Partnership. Design Architect John Wardle. Project Manager Davis Langdon. Project Team Simon Hanger, Pasquale Di Iorio, Anna Fairbank, Beatrix Rowe, David Andrew, Alan Driscoll. Developer RMIT University Property Services. Structural Consultant, Civil Consultant W. P. Brown & Partners. Electrical Consultant, Mechanical Consultant, Service Consultant O’Connor Associates. Hydraulic Consultant Clements Consulting Group. Landscape Design John Wardle. Interior Designer Beatrix Rowe. Quantity Surveyor Davis Langdon Australia. Builder L. U. Simon Builders. Photography John Gollings.



Published online: 1 Nov 2000


Architecture Australia, November 2000

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