John Wardle & Office dA Win Comp to Build New Architecture School

Sep 2, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor
  • Designer

John Wardle and Office dA have won the international competition to design a new building for the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, beating competition from five other shortlisted architecture firms.

The competition commended the partnership between Melbourne-based John Wardle Architects and Boston-based Office dA. Professor Tom Kvan, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, said, “”The winning design showed a detailed understanding of the teaching and research activities of the Faculty and the potential for contribution to research across the campus”.”

The building will include dedicated spaces for research into sustainable precinct design and performance, along with lecture theatres, a library, exhibition and specialist workshop spaces. It will accommodate students enrolled in the Bachelor of Environments, one of the degrees formed under the Melbourne Model, and in the Melbourne School of Design as well as provide offices for staff of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

Shortlisted entries were asked to address four key issues in their competition submissions: Built Pedagogy, The Academic Environment, The Design Studio and The Living Building. The jury were particularly focused on a demonstrated capacity to work with the university to achieve a high quality of design and noted the broad range of design responses and variety of innovative approaches to research and education.

The other shortlisted architects were: Denton Corker Marshall, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, KoningEizenberg with William J Mitchell and Gehry Technologies, McBride Charles Ryan and Sauerbruch Hutton with NH Architecture.

The two-stage competition was first announced on 27 March 2009. Out of an initial 133 submissions from top design firms and architecture practices from 15 different countries, the jurors selected a shortlist of six finalists, four of whom were Australian. The competition was endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.

The jury consisted of Peter Elliott, Adjunct Professor at the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT University; French architect Odile Decq; Professor Glyn Davis, Vice Chancellor, University of Melbourne; Professor Tom Kvan, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne.

Presentation boards summarising the response from each of the shortlisted entrants will be on display in the Wunderlich Gallery at the Parkville campus throughout September. Further information on the architectural design competition is on the Faculty’s website.

All images from the John Wardle and Office dA presentation.

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