The proposal submitted by Charles Dewanto, C J Foo, Lorenzo Ju, Yenny Kusuma, Louis Wong, Maggie Chu and Tze Ek Ng for the Campus Design Ideas Competition for the University of Canberra received a supplementary prize for their degree of resolution, ambitious vision for the concourse and quality of presentation. More images and architect’s description after the break.
Vision: The super concourse is an ambitious proposal for rethinking the relationship between pedagogy and architectural space/ contemporary learning environment that extends beyond the brief of merely animating university life. The organic dynamics of education and its evolution in the age of open source learning calls for a revolution in negotiating a conducive learning spatial typology. Our architecture rejects the predominant, albeit outdated model of systematic institutional planning that is overly rigid; proclaims an emergent alternative, and strives to inculcate a new educational culture. Sir Ken Robinson, a leader in the development of innovation and human resource) once decried how ‘our standardized linear form of learning has turned education into an industrialized model, a competitive mass education system. Our architecture for the new concourse seeks to transcend the architectural limits imposed by the current institutional model, paving a new framework for a leap; from linear to an organic structure of education.
Architecture: The architectural scheme is the proposition of a super concourse. This is a new infrastructural framework that lays foundation to the future learning environment. Our intervention seeks to unify the existing University identity and, at the same time, signify the aspirations towards the future of learning. This process would take place in three phases.
Phase One: FOUNDATION Undulating land forms seek to create a public space that responds to the natural environment of the surrounding landscape. The subtle program distances itself spatially but stays visually connected to the busy university life along its perimeter. The integration of the roof unifies the university as a single element while providing a framework which allows for a customizable system in the future.
Phase Two: EVOLUTION The second phase is set to allow the accommodation of existing and new programs to evolve and inhabit between the ground concourse and roof becoming the “new” university building. With the introduction of new technologies and the ever evolving learning environment; we need spaces that could accommodate for current learning typologies but also future learning environments. Spaces would then need to be highly adaptable and flexible. Inhabitation of the “new” building will be more sustainable and cost effective.
A built-in infrastructure which accommodates the demand of flexible physical and digital spaces shall be introduced. To accommodate flexible unplanned usage of spaces, resources need to be readily available and customisable for future users of the space. We provide an organic column grid with service connections running through the tracks at both ceiling and in ground to allow for the installation of modular units. New modular floor plates may be inserted to propagate the system above ground.
Phase Three: REVOLUTION Adaptive reuse. We believe in the principal goal of assisting in conservation of our cultural heritage, the adaptive reuse of old buildings will bring in long-term benefits to cut the environmental, social and economic costs of urban development and expansion in a sustainable manner. Building 8 would be readapted to become an archival / media building, while Building 1 is to accommodate future expansion of the hub with other buildings to follow.Building 2 (lecture & tutorial rooms) and Building 10 (computer centre) will be demolished creating a cross concourse to allow primary pedestrian circulation. Building 1 to be partially demolished to create a connection to university village and enhances existing university heart. This ambitious proposal will reposition and reinvent University of Canberra’s role in the future of higher-education learning in Australia. The Super Concourse will be an iconic symbol for the university. It breathes life into the existing historical and cultural vessels surrounding the concourse.