Architects: Williams Boag architects Pty Ltd
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Project team: Andrew Croxon, Jeff Gabriel, Dion Keech, Tim Lang, Timothy Moore, Peter Williams
Project area: 5,580 sqm
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Tony Miller
The new Centre for Theology and Ministry and Dalton McCaughy Library (CTM/DML) for the Uniting Church in Australia in partnership with the Society of Jesus comprises a teaching facility, professorial and administrative offices, a small chapel and an important theological library. The new building is located on the eastern side of the Ormond College grounds in Parkville, immediately behind the Wyselaskie Hall, Maclean House.
The design of the new structure has has been carefully considered in relation to its heritage and urban context. In particular, the design preserves the historical nature and clarity of both Wyselaskie Hall and Maclean House immediately to the west while establishing in its own right an addition of significance to the complex of structures on the Ormond Grounds. Both the 1960s aesthetic (Romberg’s octagonal McFarland Library and Romberg and Boyd’s McCaughey Court) and the 1890s heritage context (Reed and Barnes and Reed, Henderson and Smart ) were influential in the siting, design and the detailing of this contemporary project crafted predominantly from concrete, copper, steel and glass.
The retention of a row of significant elm trees along Morrison Close resulted in a lineal planning arrangement with a narrow ‘frontage’ to College Crescent to the north and a strong presence to Morrison Close. A second entry with generous lobby is located along Morrison Close at the ‘step’ between the library and CTM teaching wings, further enlivened by the presence of a café. The new building comprises interlocking wings of two and three stories (plus a basement in the library).
Wyselaskie Hall has been integrated with the CTM via conversion of the two former residences previously housed within into additional student and tutorial spaces on the Ground Floor and administrative offices and meeting rooms on the First Floor. Intervention within the historic fabric has been minimized and the connections between old and new carefully considered. The Hall itself, once containing archival material belonging to the DML has been converted into a multi-purpose space opening off the new internal gallery and the material moved into the new library.
With little scope for utilizing passive solar design principles, mixed mode air-conditioning has been used throughout enabling ‘ventilation mode only’ during optimum periods. Tempered supply and return air is provided to the basement plant room via large plenum spaces around the basement subterranean earth batters. Double glazing and solar control glass has been used on the exposed eastern and western sides of the Library to minimize heat loads and protect the collection. The teaching areas and offices are provided with openable windows that are programmed to shut down the air-conditioning to prevent energy wastage. Motion detectors are provided to efficient lighting fixtures and storm water is collected and recycled for use in toilets and gardens.