Spowers completes new home for RMIT School of Media & Communication
This project was about establishing a new home and identity for RMIT’s School of Media and Communication, previously dispersed amongst 10 different locations within RMIT City Campus, within a once beautiful 1930’s heritage listed building that had unfortunately endured a legacy of piece-meal fitouts and neglect. The interior architectural project clearly acknowledges and respects the existing fabric, whilst strategically inserting new elements as conscious and obvious architectural installations.
The design inspirations drew from the pop-art world – specifically the works of Bridget Riley deemed an appropriate driver for both the building and supporting the school’s identity and purpose. The interior architectural solution represented was directly driven by numerous educational aspirations, including a focus on cross-discipline collaboration that ensures an understanding of the convergence of the communication profession, embedding technology within all teaching and learning spaces and the creation of 'place' that gives identity and branding to the school for existing and future occupants, providing students a long awaited 'home'.
The brief also required the provision of a variety of environments for students for the school to utilise outside of timetabled classes to collaborate, socialise and participate, as well as high exposure and transparency of honours, postgraduate and research components of the school. The technical facilities within the school are to be tailored as an industry leading teaching approach enabling a seamless vocational transition for students, while exemplar environmental strategies to be adopted where practical. The staff accommodation zones are to adopt a similar cross-discipline collaboration model in their working environment.
Design and Educational Excellence Innovation has been driven by the creation of new and progressive learning spaces embedded within a heritage context. One example is the development of a typical 'classroom' module - guised as the 'cross discipline learning space' – which is multiplied nine times. Spowers created a collaborative learning space solution (through prototyping and significant stakeholder engagement) that could be used for a multitude of programmes – previously all having their own 'specialist' dedicated spaces. These 30 capacity spaces perform as a media classroom, design studio, standard 'didactic' classroom and support a collaborative environment that is highly buttressed by technology. This teaching space has now become an exemplar for RMIT University.
“The refurbishment and addition to this building has reinvented the building's function as an enabler of innovative approaches to teaching and learning, allowing increasingly progressive pedagogical practise to be developed within the School of Media & Communication.” Louise Allgood Property Services, RMIT University