A new gateway building is taking shape at Monash University’s Clayton Campus in Victoria. Designed by John Wardle Architects, the Learning and Teaching building is not only aligned with MGS Architect’s Clayton Campus Masterplan by adding a built edge to the campus, but is also creating a more student centred learning experience with contemporary teaching and learning spaces.
To house the Faculty of Education and the Office of Learning and Teaching, the new building by Multiplex is creatively designed and visually stunning, and will include 70 formal and informal learning spaces for 240 students, as well as contemporary workspaces for the staff.
Meaghan Dwyer, Principal at John Wardle Architects explains that the building has two important roles: One in the context of the Masterplan, which is about arrival and the university campus at large; and the second in providing a new teaching and learning environment.
Located at the intersection of one of the busiest pedestrian pathways on the campus, the Learning and Teaching building, at only four storeys high, stands in contrast to its neighbouring modernist (and towering) 11-storey Menzies Building.
According to Yee Jien, Senior Associate at John Wardle Architects, Monash University being a landscape campus, the design intent was to bring the landscape inside, which then turns the building into these vertical brick elements. Chosen as the primary feature of the design intent, the brickwork has become the real focal point of the building.
The building houses three brick elements: A tower standing four storeys high, a kiln comprising of a series of magnificent curved brick-clad areas, and a theatre in the round clad in brickwork. While the brick elements are visually striking and serve as a wayfinding device inside a large building, Yee explains they also accommodate a number of formal and informal teaching spaces within them.
Selecting the right brick for these elements was a critical and involved process, requiring collaboration with a brick maker who had the passion and skill to deliver a standout brick. The brick maker also needed to have a transparent process, to be able to explain how he was making minor adjustments to the samples, so the architects could be part of that critical conversation.
Klynton Krause, a third generation boutique brick maker at Krause Bricks in country Victoria worked with the design team to create the bricks. Yee commented that the bricks had a handmade quality about them, and the texture and colour tied in well with the design landscape theme.
The colour of the bricks was selected following an extensive process of sampling over several months. The colour selection was based on the samples produced by Klynton.
A Monash Grey brick blend was finally chosen to create the signature look for the building.
For more information on this project, or the Krause Monash Grey brick blend, please contact Robertson's Building Products Pty Ltd.
Photographer: Peter Bennetts