Gray Puksand's new rural campus for La Trobe University
La Trobe University New Campus, Completed November 2010 Design, key elements of the brief and examples of an enhanced education process: Consistent with the influences of modern pedagogy the design of this building demonstrates a didactic aesthetic. The environmentally responsive form, refined surface treatment and confident use of colour display an iconic vision for collaborative learning. La Trobe University, G.O. TAFE and the City Council identified an opportunity to create a tertiary education precinct in the heart of Shepparton.
Having evolved out of extensive user group workshops during all phases of development, the building form responds to the environment, providing high levels of natural day light through extensive shaded glazing. It is a sculptural representation of both educational planning and a sense of place. The predominantly unfenestrated portions of the façade constantly change in tone depending on the angle of the sun, further modeling the dramatic form of the building. Low-level glazing to the perimeter provides a sense of transparency and permeability to activities within.
The vision for future connection with G.O. TAFE has inspired major entry points and an activated street edge. In juxtaposition to the simplicity of the external metallic paneling, a layer of dramatic sun shading has been applied. The seemingly vibrating arrangement of boxes, randomised and arranged like DNA diagrams, is a reference to health and discovery. The ubiquitous nature of information and communication technologies has resulted in a departure from the conventional lecture theater to ICT rich, adaptable environments that interconnect via operable walls to shared student hubs and breakout zones.
Fundamental to contemporary educational environments is the need to provide a variety of learning settings. This menu of spaces include areas for large group interaction, one on one study, presentation and individual study nooks; resulting in true flexibility and educational spaces with a purposeful variety. Future-proofing of educational spaces is therefore created with a purposeful variety, and as such the café on the ground floor is as important as the technical learning environments on the first floor.