Melbourne architecture firm, ClarkeHopkinsClarke (CHC), has unveiled a new approach to educational design with the recent opening of Bendigo TAFE’s Health and Community Centre of Excellence, translating health care and educational pedagogy into the built environment.

The $14.9 million upgrade saw the transformation of an existing heavy three-storey brick building on the TAFE’s City Campus into vibrant and technology-rich learning spaces. The new building provides engaging, inspiring and healthy environments for students within the health, aged-care and child-care industries.

Inspired by three conceptual pillars – being ‘transparent’, ‘healthy’ and ‘connected’ - the centre boasts advanced educational facilities that inspire a new level of learning, including simulation labs with staged industry realistic environments.

A staged home for domestic aged-care training, a hospital ward for bed care training and a fully equipped early learning environment for children’s services training, is available to support students in their learning.

CHC partner Justin Littlefield, says that the building was designed to prioritise the learner and support future advancements in Bendigo TAFE’s programs and curriculum.

“Our goal was to transform the existing outdated building into a welcoming and stimulating environment for learning that reflects the specialist programs and future-focused characteristics of the centre,” Littlefield says.

“Flexible learning spaces, with mobile AV and operable walls that can be adjusted and changed to suit the class size and evolving class needs over time are some of the features. These bespoke learning environments have been developed specifically for health-focused programs and feature accompanying breakout spaces, study zones and collaborative learning areas to promote different ways of learning and thinking.”

CHC replaced much of the existing brickwork of the building with a high-performance glass facade that allows the creative ideas and learning occurring within the building to be visible from the outside. Creating an activated and welcoming atmosphere for students that addresses the key pillars of transparency and connectivity was part of the mission.

The new facade allows an abundance of natural light to filter into each learning space, aiding productivity and enlivening the bold and dynamic colour palette of magenta and turquoise. This colour palette continues throughout the building, where it has been utilised for wayfinding, providing visual cues that define the user’s journey.

The redevelopment also provided an opportunity to retrofit key environmentally sustainable design features, including the re-insulation of the buildings walls to improve thermal performance, the use of sustainably sourced timber and steel, motion and daylight-sensing LED lighting, Greentag Certified floor vinyl, rubber flooring and noise cancelling acoustic baffles to allow for learning excellence.