John Wardle Architects creates a zinc-clad city wall for the University’s Foodscray Park campus
The Sport & Learning Precinct for Victoria University creates a new presence for the Footscray park campus. The new building sits on the old Maribyrnong River escarpment and just above the modern flood levels. North facing and with an elevated aspect across the playing fields and the river, the new building presents a sweeping horizontal form not unlike the wall of a medieval hill town. The new building also defines a new centre to the campus. A large courtyard sits to the south around which is wrapped a giant folded glass facade.
Inside is a vibrant and diverse learning environments that supports both formal and informal learning. The new building incorporates a number of highly specialised laboratory spaces for the School of Human Movement Recreation and Performance. An intimate understanding of the exacting requirements of each laboratory space was gathered and the spatial definition of these repeatedly tested with the client.
The building itself might be considered some sort of giant apparatus for scientific experimentation – highly specialised facilities include an 11-metre-high Biomechanics Laboratory, with an integrated operable box truss and cameras, a climate controlled chambers engineered to simulate depleted oxygen, high humidity and extreme temperature environments.
Thus AUD$60M development incorporates a range of environmentally sustainable design initiatives and has achieved a 5 Green Star certification. A thermal labyrinth and chimneys support a mixed mode ventilation system that services new open plan academic workspace. The facade to the north incorporates operable windows and is constructed from folded zinc and aluminium panels coloured with reference to the landscape setting. Direct sunlight causes the appearance of the facade to transform over the course of the day