Swanston Academic Building – RMIT University, Melbourne

Swanston Academic Building, RMIT University Austrailia, Architect, Education Design

Swanston Academic Building, Melbourne

RMIT University Development, Victoria – design by Lyons

26 Nov 2012

Swanston Academic Building

Location: Corner Swanston & A’Beckett Streets, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Architect: Lyons

RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, is a unique city campus, embedded deeply into the downtown grid of a major city of 5 million people.

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne
images : John Gollings

This new building, called the Swanston Academic Building, is an idea about building a vertical campus and drawing the diversity of the city deeply in to the design conception. As student space is not available like a green campus, the project proposes a vertical ‘stack’ of informal ‘open’ student spaces, each connected to a central circulation system of escalators and stairs. This creates a three-dimensional armature of student infrastructure within the building, and is also used as a means of providing a sustainable natural ventilation system within this network of spaces. These student spaces are named ‘portals’ as a hybrid of the physical gateway, and the virtual access to knowledge and information. Each is a double height space, and externally they appear as large ‘holes’ in the facade, each with a distinctive profile based on editing the surrounding cityscape.

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne
images : John Gollings

The building is designed to meet the long-term needs of the University for teaching and learning spaces, with over 80 spaces including large lecture theatres, which are stacked vertically within a long span structure. All of the learning spaces, which vary in capacity from 30 to 360 students, are designed around new models of learning pedagogies, particularly collaborative and project based learning. Through this approach, a gradient of different learning spaces are provided within each level of the building, reflecting the diversity model that is typical within the city condition.

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne
images : Diana Snape

Externally the building form, with its geometry of compression and expansion, was created out of a series of design operations which modeled the ‘force’ of the surrounding city on to the building itself – like a gravitational force, or crumpling an aluminium can. The colours of the facade are also derived from a mapping of the surrounding cityscape, via the operation of a virtual diorama. In doing so the colouration can be perceived as part camouflage.

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne Swanston Academic Building Melbourne
images : Diana Snape

The distinctive triangular window format (three windows per level) provides for particular views from the interior – up, down and straight out – and also optimizes the environmental performance of the façade system. Lightweight sunshades, varied in dimension to suit the orientation of the building, further extend the super-performative quality of the buildings envelope. The intended result from these design strategies, is to create a building as a city campus, one which is quite literally the campus as a city in microcosm – an intense vertical diversity for the students who use it – and deeply and specifically connected with the local city the building inhabits.

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne
image : Buro North

Swanston Academic Building, RMIT – Building Information

Project Title: RMIT University, Swanston Academic Building
Year of Completion: Currently under construction
Project Address: Corner Swanston & A’Beckett Streets, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Area: 35,000m2
Key Materials/Products Used: Hybrid concrete/steel structure, curtain wall by Permasteela, multiple interior finishes
Software Used: Autodesk AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, 3D Studio Max

Project/ Design Architect: Lyons
Structural Consultant: Bonacci Group
Mechanical Consultant: AECOM
Electrical Consultant: AECOM
Interior Designer: Lyons
Acoustic Consultant: Watson Moss Growcott
Hydraulic Consultant: AECOM
Fire Engineering: AECOM
Fire Services Engineer: AECOM
Facade Engineer: Meinhardt Facade Technology
Quantity Surveyor: Wilde & Woollard
Building Surveyor: Peter Luzinat & Partners
Project Manager: DCWC
Builder: Brookfield Multiplex

Swanston Academic Building Melbourne images / information from Lyons

Lyons


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Swanston Academic Building RMIT University Melbourne