Encouraging an organic, social university experience, CRAB studios have designed a fresh, stimulating campus for Abedian School of Architecture at Bond University, QLD. By Yen Dao.
January 15th, 2014
From the UK firm’s winning design contract in 2011, the project has evolved into a wonderful example of responsive, sustainable architecture.
Responding to the social factors of university life, the new campus is a space for congregation and collaboration. The design is inspired by the idea of a theatre where a series of stages act as ‘platforms’ or ‘pockets’ for friendships, meetings or lessons.
The building is a long, airy loft rising two to three levels, articulated by a series of ‘scoops’ that define enclosures used as classrooms and studio spaces. Like the main thoroughfare of a small town, this central void acts as the main artery of the structure, feeding and ferrying between capillary spaces.
Viewed from the outside, large terraced decks melt into a re-vegetated hillside garden, softening the transition between built and natural landscape. The building thus resembles an organic sculpture that responds to both student life and sustainable design.
The structure employs a series of passive heating strategies; externally, a fan-like roof and metallic ‘eyebrow’ façade system anticipates the strength and direction of the Queensland summer sun and shelter from strong winds. The manipulated surfaces screen direct northern light and filter southern light into the interior to avoid glare and overheating.
Internally, a walkway acts as a thermal buffer and encourages natural airflow throughout the building. Concrete ‘scoops’ act as thermal mass to absorb heat when the climate is hotter than the concrete and return the warmth when surroundings are cooler, lessening the need for mechanical air conditioning. A series of lit spaces and darker spaces allow for a range of studying conditions without artificial lighting.
The design scheme demonstrates a dynamic and functional approach to education, where students can readily identify with their environment and pair the nature of their activities to the most comfortable and functional surroundings. Thankfully, the end result is also a striking and compelling edifice, hopefully inspiring alumni to excellence through its own example.
The Abedian School of Architecture officially opened in October 2013.
Bond University Abedian School of Architecture
Photography: Peter Bennetts
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