The highway itself is not simply a strip for cars, with a tram stop in its centre, the stop connected to Deakin via an underpass, which pops up on the podium over car park levels. The sculptural ramps, which descend to the campus ground, make the best of this circuitous route across its base. The Burwood Highway Frontage building reconnects directly with the road and its ground by descending internally from the entry podium level to a small flat floor auditorium, fully glazed as it faces the buildings. The equivalent of this solidity internally is the rusticated wooden battening lining the lift core at each level. Squint, and these light, linear elements of aluminium and timber form a massiveness, which might start to set the building’s distinguished identity.
Thinking of a university building through differentiation of its type or of its urban location might seem nostalgic for a period when universities were ‘other worldly’ and architectural Modernism thought it could be an expression of that through experimentation. Such big ideas are worth struggling with. Embodying that struggle for transformation and differentiation in buildings makes a salient point about the acquisition of knowledge. Differentiation from the real world could seem an outdated understanding of a university, or it could be the marketing of a point of difference. In an urban environment where learning, offices and food courts programmatically and aesthetically merge and hybridise, we can be positive about that merger and still confront the question of differentiating the spectrum of urban experiences and institutional types.
Eastern elevation, the louvred facade facilitates a modern sensibility.
PRINCIPAL AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Sarah Ball
DESIGN LEADER: Bruno Mendes
TECHNICAL LEADER: Karl Engstrom
PROJECT TEAM: Mark Kelly, David Ley, Melissa Blandford, Rob Donegan, Richard Galloway, Henry Ly, Emma-Louise Matthews, Ian McDonald, Matthew Si
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Rush Wright Associates
SERVICE ENGINEER: Umow Lai Pty Ltd
STRUCTURAL AND CIVIL ENGINEER: John Mullen & Partners
BUILDING SURVEYOR: PLP Consultants
QUANTITY SURVEYOR: Wilde & Woollard.