LocationMildura VIC 3500, Australia
CollaboratorsMatthew Dwyer, Peter Tonkin, Felicity Brown, Damien Ferlazzo, Stuart Redmond
Text description provided by the architects. The first indications that something special sits with Mildura Senior Secondary College can be seen from the surrounding streets where glimpses of a brightly coloured form can be caught between trees. Drawing on references of the Australian shearers shed in its form and layout, activity flows around a central volume. This nod to traditional industries is complemented with the centres use of modern materials along with bold statements in its forms and colours that recognises a continued nature of innovation and change within industry.
Deakin creates an environment that celebrates the trades, striving to improve student retention and outcomes by creating an engaging environment of learning. While centre seeks to be visually appealing it’s also a functional and flexible building dedicated in providing students with a practical state-of-the-art facility.
On entering Deakin the Central Gallery creates light filled volume that acts as a beacon drawing daylight into the heart of the facility. This space gives views and access into all training areas and provides gathering spaces that encourage students to linger. It is an environment inducive to incidental learning and cross-pollination opportunities that puts the function of the facility on show.
Deakin’s program is designed to strengthen student pathways, with strong links to further education and employment in areas of local demand, enhancing the retention of skilled individuals for the local community. The programs include Building & Construction, Furniture & Cabinet Making, Automotive, Engineering, Electro Technology, Avionics and Hospitality.
The centre facilitates interactions between trades creating an environment where students are challenged to be inquisitive. While the layout of equipment designed around the efficiency of flow between pieces opportunities have been explored where equipment between trades encouraging interactions and collaboration. This is further enhanced by an interconnectedness and looseness of boundaries. All spaces are connected and visible from the central gallery, enhancing supervision and encouraging student participation and awareness. Extensive use of glass in this double height space draws in daylight and creates visual connections between trades.
A graphical narrative runs throughout Deakin from whimsical arrows that draw occupants into the heart of the building to initiative safety marking in the workshops which clearly define both hazards (Blue) and areas of restricted access (Green). This colourful palette complements practical material selection, which ensures a durable and low maintenance backdrop.
Inverted block veneer walls provide sturdy interior walls with thermal mass; the lightweight skin provides interest and protection from Mildura’s climate. In the workshops future flexibility concerns are addressed with a clear span structure that allows for uninterrupted space enabling rearrangement; additionally a service grid provides flexible access to compressed air, enabling flexible training opportunities. Other initiatives include syphonic drainage system drawing water to tanks, the use of high level louvers and the extent of natural daylight.
Deakin is a celebration of student endeavour, providing a place of pride for its occupants. It is designed to challenge and inspire students to explore interest and provided them with innovative spaces to gain practical skills. The centre presents its community with a state of the arts, designed to educate and engage next generation of citizens.