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‘University of Melbourne’ Architecture Building Competition NH Architecture

NHArchitecture held an upper pool studio in their offices, second semester 2009. Having recently been shortlisted for the design of the new architecture faculty at the University of Melbourne, NH thought that the potency of this competition’s urban, programmatic and pedagogical dilemmas, as well as its topicality, seemed ripe for students. From the outset we tried to simulate office conditions, where production starts whether you have any insight or ideas. The client pushes the start button and it begins, no waiting for genius to strike. Production was the engine pulling along in many directions propelling the architecture through a byzantine process of demands. Here the tutors acted in various roles - substitute clients, jury members, critics, mentors. A series of short deadlines were set that involved quick production of a total yet unco-ordinated scheme early for review and renewal, the pace was deliberately set in contrast to any languid pace that might prevail otherwise. Big practices mean ready resources - we grabbed colleagues to comment on anonymous schemes, we grabbed graphics staff for input, we grabbed modelmaking staff for efficient production. The methods were aimed at exercising students’ flexibility and quick responses. Architectural responses were generated from the architecturally rich site specifics or pre-empting the marketing desires of Melbourne University or new takes on the educational pedagogy and co-opting precedents in the service of new formal ambitions. This experiment in practices should be ongoing.


Transmission by Anna Jankovic Level 9

The cycle of the institution is constant and in flux. The current system being the University’s marketing wheel; ‘the Melbourne model’ of shifting and overlapping “knowledge boundaries”. In this scheme however, the aim is to provide a building diagram independent of this model, or any that may override it. The base form is impressionable by its surrounding context; its walls push and pull according to established significance and program, allowing the multiple disci-

plines of the campus to interact with the ground plane. However there is no place for tourists in the next stage of this cycle. The Architecture faculty hovers above its own ground plane. The ‘hero’ in this story though is the fragment that breaks through both forms. The Library, Gallery and Auditorium are the lasting forums of architectural discourse, and as such rise above the institution as a visual site marker, an axis of knowledge.


Below sits the other relic, the broken entablature of the old New South Wales Bank façade. A necessary destruction, the interruption of this element has much purpose. A breaking the old horizontal order to make way for a new hierarchy. Isolating these two halves within the composition of the new plan accentuates a procession from the Union lawn into the arms of the new building. With this the user takes part in the new order, a ‘new model’.

Chris Haddad Level 8

My design for the University of Melbourne Architecture School is based upon the horizontal distribution of program. This division means that on each level there is access to a wider range of areas from student workspace, lecturer offices, teaching rooms, research space, and library resources. Such a layout creates an educational environment that promotes cross-disciplinary

interaction and the sharing of knowledge and expertise. This layout reduces the reliance on vertical circulation such as lifts while also providing greater control of after-hour access areas. An open floor arrangement of the school with a concentration of removable room dividers creates a flexible floor plan that adapts and changes and with the needs of the university.


The breaking apart of form helps reduce energy consumption by promoting passive design strategies such as improving ventilation, natural light and encouraging natural heating and cooling.

Interior Views

Ground Floor Plan

Andria Skoumbridis Level 6

The approach to designing a new school of architecture for this project was to consider the manner in which students learn. From my experiences as an architecture student, I’ve observed that a good deal of the learning that happens at uni doesn’t necessarily take place inside the class room. More often than not it is the countless hours spent in computer labs and discus-

sions with classmates –that allow a student’s education to prosper and in my design these are the places I’ve chosen to privilege as a way of accommodating a student’s learning. My building is five levels, the top two are for academic staff and research students, the bottom three levels are for undergraduate students - within these three levels, I’ve designed these break 4

spaces for students. These spaces are to act as an antithesis to the formal and often gruelling environment of the design studio and other formal learning spaces.

ntilevered form

Grand episodic moments

Melbourne University Grand ‘Cracked’ Entrance

Staff - Faculty ‘Eye’ Level

Student - The cantilevered Design Platform

Staff - Faculty ‘Eye’ Level

Public - Open Court & Cafe

Public - Open Court & Cafe

BIG & BRUTAL by Andrew Moller Level 7

This project intentionally sat heavily within the site of Melbourne University acting as a imposing building for the new Architecture Building and Planning Faculty. The uniformity of the external skin attempts to act as a grand beacon in an albeit brooding way with its uncharged minimalism. A slight hint through a cracked grand entrance implies that something interesting is

happening within. Inside the building the two main elements are a perforated undulating atrium and a contrasting cantilevered design platform which houses the main studios. This pierces the main shell of the building showcasing that the students and the studio element are the primary focus for the new Melbourne School of Design. 5

David McDonald Level 8

The new Faculty of Architecture building and planning should be a centre for communication, a cultural forum and a catalyst for creative thinking. The students and staff need an environment which promotes the exchange of ideas through both traditional tutorialbased learning and also by the discussions that are had

coming and going from class. The circulation paths within the building are arranged so that they meet at nodes where students may work together informally or chat. The spaces within the school have increased access to natural light and ventilation delivered by a central atrium. The fourth level is 6

open to three large outdoor roof terraces which are overlooked by the studios above and are accessable from the ground floor via a winding ramp. The studios are cantilevered accross the atrium below and rotated to face the north, so that students can enjoy naturally lit and open working environments.

UNI Stacko by Frank Wirawan Level 7

Melbourne University advertises themselves with their heritage buildings to let the world know that they have more history than others. As well they use a heritage building as the cover page for this competition.

ping around it with stone and projecting it with a concave mirror. As a result, the reflected image will be dominated by the heritage building and make it the focus point from the union lawn.

This project can be split into 2 parts. First, for the university itself, it increases the heritage building that faces the union lawn by wrap-

Secondly, it is for the collective program. The visible faculty has become a collective of activities from the whole of the university and 7

the intersection point that reflects the open spaces of the university. With Uno stacko/ Jenga concept, creats a series of blocks in both plan, section and elevation which stack together to become a solid building that allows flexible arrangements.

Interior Views

1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0


HyperComplex by Jamilia Mohd Marsin Level 8

‘HyperComplex’ displays a visionary interpretation of the Melbourne Model and also suggests new learning environments for architecture staff and students. The intention is to promote architecture through ‘window shopping’ and also ‘all-in-one-go’ concept for a more efficient circulation for students and staff. Thus my design strategy is to emulate retail concept of hypermar-

ket + shopping complex in a big-box building. It may sound radical in a university context; however HyperComplex is suitable in adopting the Melbourne Model where it can promote the Faculty of Architecture in a familiar way to the public. HyperComplex is mainly about displaying. The form of the floor plans is generat8

ed to allow views from one level to another and hidden areas are to accommodate private programs such as research and academic staff spaces. Student areas such as studios and workshops are viewable but not accessible to the public unless they enrol in the course– using the metaphor of shops where you cannot attain a product unless you entered the shop itself.

Fatty, Skinny & a little bit of Barry by Nicholas Ashby Level 7


the over looking the lawns library

tutorial & seminar rooms path to lawns from library and research levels



lobby / lounge / cafe / work space / meeting point / big rad attrium space

academic staff

design studio

design studio

design studio

design studio

academic staff

design studio

design studio

design studio

design studio


academic staff

academic staff

existing fire escape staircase

specialist studio / new needs / plant / traveling studio space / whatever


sections at 1:250



lobby and lounge space for research & higher degree

“A Petri Dish of Intent...” by Paul Ahern Level 6

“A Petri Dish of Intent...” is an architectural realisation of the new Melbourne Model in the form of an ‘animated’ cube. It is a visually confronting, grandiose gesture with a highly polished, refined facade designed to reflect its surrounds in recognition of the campus context and its historical significance. The form is cleaved by a central atrium that filters

light from above and is used to define the quality of space and provide an abundance of natural light. The skeleton of the academic model is interpreted as an internalised architectural landscape consisting of levels warping themselves around a central staircase representing the new core Bachelor of Environments. The free plan contains an inherent ability to evolve and adapt whilst 10

acting as the ideal environment to nurture and develop students, just as agar in a Petri dish... providing for the student as a growing organism. The building acts as a strong, symbolic gesture of intent whilst creating a dynamic, versatile space in which work, study, interact, contemplate and relax.

Integration by Raymond Wong Level 7

This is a proposal development of the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture building. The intention of the design is to promote a sustainable, environmental-friendly concept with ideal learning spaces that encourage integration between students and the building. In order to achieve this objective, a new building is designed with suitable thermal comfort, correct amount of openings to receive suitable light into the interior as energy efficiency and also the design of each education space, in or out of the building would

work well to integrate with the students. The design of the building form is based on the circulation and orientation of the site. It is planned with different, separated blocks of design with the concern of nature, environment and surroundings, such as natural lighting during summer and winter, to capture good air ventilation into the building, and for human circulation. The design of the building does not only consider being environmental friendly, it is also designed to assist students with useful functional spaces and provide students 11

with a comfortable study experience. The large openings of the building intends to show activities and happenings from the inside, showing the integration of the building spaces and students. The movement and decoration of the interior can be seen from the exterior of the building through the large openings, it is an idea of creating differing types of surface design for the building at different times.

Change by Anson Tsui Level 9


UCreate by Ivelina Grozeva Level 7

The proposed new building for the architectural faculty incorporates the perception of architecture as a process. Stimulating the creativity of students to build their own environment, allowing temporary structures as well as leaving spaces non-programmed, are key issues of the concept that should be translated into

a flexible volume - ideally a mere shelter. Such a climatic buffer in form of a double faรงade, combined with a separate load carrying structure, should allow future designers to give way to their ideas, experiment in 1:1 scale as well as being open to the broad public. Bearing in mind the significant location of the faculty 13

on the campus map, pathways were formed on the ground level that follow the identified main pedestrian flows. Such a permeable structure not only secures connectivity on campus, but also attracts visitors to pass through and engage with the inner life of the faculty.

Tutors: Hamish Lyon Lucinda Mason Lucy Clemenger Anthony Parker Guest Critics: Graham Crist, RMIT Silvia Tasani, NH Architecture Chris Reddaway, NH Architecture Ian Davidson, NH Architecture Catherine Endersby, NH Architecture Christine Phillips, RMIT Tim Pyke, ARM Scott Drake, University of Melbourne Thanks to: Ramiro Marroquin, Thihoa Gill

The students wish to especially thank NHArchitecture for opening their office to us over the semester and for their valued contribution to our work.

Studio Details Title: University of Melbourne, Architecture Building Competition Tutor: NH Architecture Pole: Urban Environments Date: Semester 2, 2009 This and other documented examples of design studios run as part of the RMIT University Architecture program can be found on

University of Melbourne Architecture Building Competition.  

Studio Leader: NH Architecture. Upperpool Design Studio, RMIT Master of Architecture (Professional), Semester 02, 09.

University of Melbourne Architecture Building Competition.  

Studio Leader: NH Architecture. Upperpool Design Studio, RMIT Master of Architecture (Professional), Semester 02, 09.