This new addition to Queensland’s University of Technology can be described as a transition between human and natural spaces; an exploration of learning and sustainability.
The Peter Coaldrake Education Precinct is a six-storey building that layers classroom, research and office facilities over a ground-level atrium, framing upper academic spaces around an active social foundation. Its terraced form ascends a hill toward the QUT Library, incorporating a broad, planted outdoor staircase designed as both a convenient thoroughfare and an informal social space.
The project expands new models of learning, creating an academic space that supports life beyond the classroom, according to Jakob Kurek, partner at Henning Larsen.
“We wanted to create an environment that supports many different ways to learn,” he says.
“Flexibility was key here, and we planned for a variety of learning situations and teaching methods.
“The large, terraced atrium between the library and the new building is designed as a big part of wayfinding on campus. It creates a very visible connection into the library and the surrounding planted landscape; collecting teachers, researchers and students on the same level in this social core.”
Parallel with Queensland’s Glass House Mountains, the building’s design was inspired by the surrounding landscape and local climate. Indeed, the building is self-shading, with offset volumes and louvres that help to reduce the building’s solar heating intake by up to 40 percent, while still allowing in natural light.