Moshe Safdie appointed for new school at Monash Uni

September 20, 2012

Architect Moshe Safdie to design new Sir Zelman Cohen School of Music at Monash University in Melbourne.

Above: Safdie Architects’ Khalsa Heritage Centre, Punjab, India (2011)

Internationally celebrated architect, Moshe Safdie, has been appointed to design the new $80 million School of Music for Melbourne-based Monash University.

The 5000sqm Sir Zelman Cohen School of Music, to be located near the entrance to Monash’s Clayton campus, will encompass teaching and practice spaces, a concert hall seating 600 people, a 200-seat jazz club and a recording studio. Safdie’s design concept will be revealed on 23 October at an event at Hamer Hall in Melbourne.

Safdie Architects will collaborate with Melbourne-based architecture firm Fender Katsalidis to deliver the project, with construction commencing in 2014. The new Music School, due for completion in mid-2016, will be Boston-based Safdie’s first building in the southern hemisphere.

Once complete, the university anticipates the building will serve as focal point of the arts precinct at Clayton. Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Ed Byrne said the university hopes to establish the Clayton campus as an “alternative cultural epicentre for greater Melbourne”.

Safdie’s celebrated works include Habitat 67 in Montreal, The Khalsa Heritage Centre in Punjab, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. Once an apprentice of Louis Kahn, Safdie established his own practice in Montreal in 1964 before relocating to Boston in 1978. A modernist, Safdie’s work responds to geographical, social and cultural context of its locale.

The University quoted Safdie as saying: “Architecture has an extraordinary impact on our lives; it impacts how we work, live, and experience our environment. With that comes a great responsibility. For me, the foundation of architectural thinking is this impact on people. And the solutions evolve from characteristics of place, culture, and contemporary life. In this way we can create buildings that belong and thereby enrich the community.”

Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor Rae Frances, said Safdie’s concept would be “a fusion of elegant design and high technology infrastructure”.

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