- Principal In Charge: Sarah Ball
- Design Principal: Bruno Mendes
- Design Leader: Jordon Saunders
- Project Architect: Brad Holt
- Project Team Members: Bolun Chen, Clare Debney, Matt Si, David Ley, Fernanda Eusebio, Stuart Patterson, Jo Dane, Albert Fravel, Caitlin Murray, Kenneth Chou
- City: Burwood
- Country: Australia
Text description provided by the architects. Woods Bagot’s Deakin Law School Building introduces a sculptural and coiled learning environment to reconcile the university’s splintered Burwood Campus in Melbourne. Creating a beacon and gateway to the Elgar Road Precinct the building provides a point of orientation, wayfinding, and enhanced campus experience. The Deakin Law School Building’s arresting geometry arose from the innovative blend of learning spaces held within. Each space addresses a different emerging methodology of teaching, doing away with the traditional lecture theatre in the process.
The building delivers five levels of flexible, media-rich learning spaces that cut across the continuum of formality and informality, with students able to move seamlessly between modes of learning. Technology bars, group pods, and individual spaces create opportunities for connection, collaboration, or private study.
Two levels are dedicated entirely to student support and health and wellbeing services, with spaces allocated for student retreat and contemplation on campus. The Wellness Garden, nestled between the building and Gardeners Creek Reserve, features native plants, stones, a deconstructed creek, and tiered seating. While the winter garden on level five provides a space high above the trees, with a vertical plant wall and floor-to-ceiling glass louvers. Three larger experimental Premier Learning Spaces challenge conventional learning typologies – a large, tiered presentation space is designed to serve as collaborative space when not in presentation mode; large group working spaces can operate as informal learning spaces when not timetabled.
Set apart from this main rectilinear teaching wing and in an orchestrated contrast of masses, the Premier Learning Space is clad in zinc and articulated as curved organic extrusions. Each response to the site’s sloping landscape, moving students energetically through the space and spiraling upward to frame a different view of the precinct. Sitting on the Northwest edge of the university’s Burwood Campus, the law school site was largely disassociated from much of the campus due to the waterway that schisms the campus in two.
A new link bridge completed during the Law Building’s construction sought to provide a connection back to the Elgar Road Precinct. With an understanding of the proposed bridge design, Woods Bagot this constraint as an opportunity for the building to form a mediation role within the campus, an organizational framework for the public realm, and the existing campus infrastructure. The building’s striking form and glinting materiality serve as a form of wayfinding, ushering students across the link bridge and creating a campus traversability that had never existed before.
The first large general-purpose learning and teaching space added to the campus in a decade, Woods Bagot has created a learning landmark that embodies the university’s commitment to evolving pedagogies. A campus catalyst and arresting arrival point within the university’s Elgar Road Precinct, the building’s impact extends well beyond its perimeter.