Learning Commons & Exercise Sports Science Building
This expressive linear building forms a dramatic edge to campus life.
Whilst the northern elevation forms a significant face for the campus, it is appropriately flanked by a sports oval and not the main university entrance. It emulates and extends the medieval city wall with a richer, more layered experience.
Held within the glazed and folded zinc clad form is a diversity of formal and informal learning areas, offices and a series of highly specialised sporting research laboratories. Our city wall is strategically fractured to open up select vantage points through and across the building, revealing the activities within.
Inside, windows draw in light and capture the expansive views of the surrounding context and city beyond. Leading from the oval up into the building, a stairway entrance becomes an amphitheatre facing back towards the sporting grounds.
On the building’s southern side, our wall opens up again to a central courtyard wrapped by a giant folded glass facade etched with a delicate abstracted pattern. A refurbished library anchors the building back into the existing campus, while the analogy of the medieval town continues internally with a series of streets that lead from the collections into a suite of contemporary learning environments.
- Project Team JWA with Wilson Architects as Education Consultants
- Client Victoria University
- Location Footscray, Victoria
- Distance from JWA 8km
- Project Duration 2006 – 2010
- Footprint 2,200 sqm
- Floor Area 14,600 sqm
- Sustainability 5 Star Green Star Education Rating
- Selected Awards
- National Commendation for Public Architecture, AIA National Architecture Awards 2011
- Public Architecture (New) Award, AIA Victoria 2011
It draws allusions to the institution as operative city, with buttress walls and robust exterior. Within is a carefully considered “town centre,” with entry courtyard sequences that stitch the new spaces back into their campus context through an inhabited bridge.
The building operates like a sophisticated machine, revealing advanced programs through architectural gestures: distorted windows and openings, pattern and materiality, detail and furniture.
The complex and varied program from library and learning commons to highly specialised sports training and research facilities are accommodated with a distinctive spatial quality, a sensitivity to use and attention to detail that exceeds expectations.
Growing outwards from the existing library building on the campus, it occupies a downward sloping embankment to the sports oval and Maribyrnong River basis beyond, forming a bold cliff like face to the north side of the campus.
Jury Citation – Public Architecture (New) Award