Automotive Centre of Excellence facilitates a contemporary approach to vocational learning
Architecturally the Kangan Institute building is a metaphor for the machine as an object of desire. Educationally this building celebrates professional skills training, technology and innovation. The brief for the facility required that all aspects of automotive industry training would be accommodated under the one roof. All facades respond passively to environmental conditions, simultaneously allowing controlled daylight into the building whilst maintaining a sense of transparency and permeability.
The building replaces the draconian notion of the ‘Grease Monkey’ with the respected and valued offer of professional skills training, technology and innovation. It explores a didactic interpretation of the automotive industry, contemporary learning and environmental sustainability. Planned to accommodate subject courses and workshop relocation from a variety of different campus locations, required that many practices would be occurring on the same site for the first time.
Rationalisation of facility requirements and a more effective use of classrooms, specialist facilities and equipment were identified through a collaborative briefing process. Analysis of spatial capacities and utilisation of data supported strategies for departments to share areas. This allowed the creation of social / collaborative spaces intrinsic to the requirements of 21st century pedagogies.
The outcome of this rigorous process enabled the brief to be expanded to accommodate additional useful areas not originally envisaged by the TAFE. These in turn provided greater amenity for staff and students, ensuring that the new facility is able to accommodate opportunities for a diversity in program delivery and future enrolment growth. Incorporating a ‘living roof’ that assists environmental performance of the building, the project was awarded a 5 Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. This third party assessment and acknowledgment of the design’s performance in reduced environmental impact from operation; reduction in water usage, waste management and indoor environment quality.
An automotive-themed urban landscape provides character to an emerging circulation route connecting Collins Street with the Yarra precinct of Docklands. The building contributes a sense of ‘soul’ to the extended south-west corner of the Melbourne CBD. The result is a building that intrinsically links campus function and industrial history to its context.