Woods Bagot has designed a new technology building and campus hub for Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. Located in the suburb of Sunshine, the project was made for Technical and Further Education (TAFE) courses to foster a transition from a manufacturing economy. Dubbed the Sunshine Skills Hub, the project provides space for education and training alongside the university's Construction Futures trade training center. The center will provide training in health technologies, advanced manufacturing and construction.
The Sunshine Skills Hub includes staff accommodation for 20 employees, as well as a cafe, learning commons, and informal learning spaces. The project will be built with a sawtooth facade that wraps around three floors, a building envelope made to reference historic harvester work factories from the area. Woods Bagot principal Sarah Ball said that, "Teaching methodologies are shifting to problem-based learning and traditional space typologies are being challenged in the design response. The Skills Hub is a series of cross-sector spaces designed to help bridge the gap between education and industry.”
The project has been funded with $10 million from the Victorian government, $15 million from Victoria University and $5 million from the Ian Potter Foundation. The building will include specialized equipment for construction technology and advanced manufacturing classes, including virtual reality goggles, robots, computerized mannequins, and simulation hospital wards. Inside, the project will feature warm interiors that contrast with the building facade.
The building will be connected to outdoor terraces, a native green canopy, and a plaza referencing basaltic lava flows. The materiality of the landscape architecture by McGregor Coxall was made to maximize connections to the surrounding public domain, buildings and infrastructure. A central plaza and cafe is created within the center of the site to concentrate campus life and create a new 'hub' for students. Tiered seating and lawn terraces are provided to encourage activated edges. In response to the ‘Greening the West Strategy’ additional native green canopy will maximize shade and biodiversity on campus.
No completion date has been announced for the project.