Officially opened in November 2013, Pentago Spowers have delivered the second academic building on RMIT’s Ho Chi Minh City Campus. Fronting a major highway the building creates a formidable entry statement and brands the campus from afar.
Comprising 10,000 sq m of specialist teaching space, cross discipline learning environments and staff accommodation over four floors, the building provides RMIT’s students and staff with the same world class contemporary learning environments enjoyed within their Melbourne campuses.
Internally, the activities are organised around a centralised vertical connection that acts as ‘the academic heart’ of the building. This ‘heart’ is inhabited by flexible learning and breakout areas and supported by specialist learning spaces. As well as being naturally lit from above, the generosity and variety of the breakout areas gives flexibility, adaptability and amenity to enable future change.
The development of a ‘speed stair’ through this central space was an innovation that solved multiple conflicts. It enables fast vertical movement within the building as well as an abundance of natural light from an atrium on the upper levels that flows through into the classrooms and enlivens the spaces.
Buttressing the learning core are generous breezeway zones containing breakout and alternative learning areas to the air-conditioned teaching spaces. Regional architectural cues were delivered in the vibrant red rain-screen that visually traverses the masonry core of the building. The screen provides sunshading as well as a distinctive ‘woven’ appearance.
The masonry core is a stepped, self-weathering façade considerate of the harsh tropical environment. The ground floor extends the campus along its east-west axis, containing the public and high use areas of café, student services and lecture theatres. The main entry to the campus has been centralised and a new covered square created, consolidating the place of entry.
“This stunning building, represents all that RMIT offers, it is a rich reminder of the many benefits a global university of technology and design can bring to individuals, families and communities,” says Professor Joyce Kirk, President of RMIT Vietnam, at the official opening ceremony.