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Gray Puksand-designed Meadowbank TAFE offers innovative trade and digital skills-based learning

Gray Puksand-designed Meadowbank TAFE offers innovative trade and digital skills-based learning


The renowned practice designed Australia’s first tertiary campus to provide both trade- and digital skills-based learning in an endeavour to safeguard the nation’s workforce.

The 15,000-square-metre campus is championing a new approach to skills and digital training. It does so by fusing hands-on construction training in the multi-trades hub, in addition to custom digital training in cyber defence, AI and business information modelling in the Institute of Applied Technology – Digital.

This hybrid approach to vocational learning is a direct response to the nation’s urgent need for skilled workers against the worrying backdrop of construction industry hardship and frequent cybercrime attacks. The TAFE’s courses were developed in collaboration with Microsoft, CPB Contractors, UTS and Macquarie University.

The design earned Gray Puksand a spot on the Australian Institute of Architects 2023 shortlist under the Educational Architecture category. 

Gray Puksand national managing partner Stephen Turner says the role of technology is now almost inseparable from skill-based vocations.

“Our vision was to design a building that would deliver a unique opportunity for students to acquire advanced skills in a professional setting with the best facilities at their fingertips,” says Turner.

The TAFE features large construction workshops, cyber-attack simulation training rooms, lecture theatres and exhibition space. The design aims to generate a feeling of uniqueness in each room while still maintaining cohesion through constant lines of sight and pathways spanning across the multiple levels. 

The building also serves as a meeting place for the local area, as there is a new school opposite the site as well as low-scale residential and industrial spaces. 

The addition of a central atrium assisted in maintaining flow within the campus as the building is situated on a sloping site.

Gray Puksand partner Barry Hackett says site’s adaptability and mobility informed the design. 

“A major part of the brief was to ensure the space could be used for a variety of purposes in the future. The project aims to address the changing needs of its users over time, while also promoting long-term sustainability,” says Hackett.

The building’s mass and scale was seamlessly integrated through a cuboid grid aligning with the campus grid. This cuboid grid expands out to the building’s external-facing pods, slotted into three sides of a functional cube with wide and glazed windows.

The external facade of the building is then covered with rectangular tile-size metal lengths coupled with small window openings presented in a random pattern. 

Two primary hubs are nestled under a right-angle trapezium roof. These hubs service a wide range of activities within the TAFE, and the constant flow of sunlight and exposure to outside views ensures easy mobility for students.

Pedestrians are also invited to peek into the trade workshops from the footpaths, fostering a sense of community connection and belonging. 

“We want people to feel intrigued by the activity that can be seen through the large glass walls separating the various training rooms,” says Hackett.

Gray Puksand’s design of Meadowbank signals the beginning of a new and exciting phase for the firm – taking on major education projects in Western New South Wales such as the $80 million Institute of Applied Technology in Kingswood. 

Photography by Brett Boardman.

For more news in the world of Gray Puksand, Aurelia Gachet appointed as Melbourne associate.

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