The restorative design solution respects the original architecture of the building, retaining original elements and celebrating the structure’s original features
The brief was to upgrade the existing 1970’s brutalist building to current Australian Standards and Building Code, whilst creating new, and activating existing, learning spaces, which were out dated to current learning and teaching service delivery methods at the university.
Many of the most innovative aspects of the Social Sciences South building fit-out came about through a process of Stakeholder engagement undertaken directly by the Flinders University planning staff and Studio Nine with the end users. A series of small workshops, held early in the process allowed a collaborative approach and as a result, the fit-out, to a certain extent, was able to form itself around the aspiration of the end users, rather than strictly needing to adapt around the constraints of the building.
A key feature of the design for the new learning and post graduate spaces is the flexibility of the use of the spaces. The existing under-used lecture space underwent an adaptive re-use design into a large flexible working space for Post Graduate students. The insertion of operable walls and changes in floor finish, have ensured the large space has an equilibrium of feeling spacious but not cavernous and empty. These design elements also provided the opportunity for curated vistas and focused sections within the space for creative groups and individual learning activities.
The brief also requested the implementation of new indoor / outdoor learning spaces which would directly connect to the central courtyard and in turn convert the existing courtyard from an over grown circulation path to a collaborative and connective extension of the adjacent internal spaces. The new design has succeeded in allowing the central courtyard space to be a new meeting hub for the building and surrounding areas, whilst removing a strict delineated path and allowing people to meander through the courtyard promoting conversation and human activity.
The flexibility of the teaching areas has allowed the spaces to operate traditionally but also align with current trends in the educational program
Large bi-fold doors and flexible mobile furniture, allow the classes to spill out into the courtyard space and encourage improved learning experiences through connection with the external environment. As a result, teaching and learning opportunities have been increased, better supporting current education methodologies, in that students can choose where and how they learn. In tandem, the project delivered a modern, upgraded facility for the campus, and has increased Post Graduate enrolments.
“For a project such as this, with a tight budget and ambitious client / end user expectations, the most pivotal step was in planning and end user consultation where we identified the purpose for the finished product and key themes and threads that would form the project brief. Studio Nine was successful in capturing relevant building information, end user requirements and ambitions for the project with those key themes in mind.
The restorative design solution respects the original architecture of the building, retaining original elements and celebrating the structure’s original features. Both the heart of the building and a central meeting place for the staff, clients and guests, the new Level 2 Breakout and Workcafe area provides an integrated breakout zone while offering the opportunity to host events out of hours.
Key to the design rationale was to reflect and facilitate the evolving paradigm of work to support the learning spaces of the future. Responding to the fact that today’s students tend to learn remotely or away from campus, the design has successfully delivered a unique design outcome that supports remote learning whilst looking to promote student engagement and attendance on campus.”
Project Manager | Flinders University