Arts West fits best for Melbourne University

Arts West fits best for Melbourne University
Mark BaljakOctober 15, 2016

One of the city's more significant design contributions has taken its place within the grounds of Melbourne University.

In the heart of the Parkville campus, the new Arts West Redevelopment was unveiled at the turn of September and primarily consists of a new $66 million teaching and learning building. Arts West also shapes as a key placemaking project, allowing the immediate area to tie-in by way of a newly landscaped plaza which references surrounding buildings.

The building itself which is the work of both ARM Architecture and Architectus, is adorned by flat metal bands that are seen as a topographical form from ground level. When viewed from a distance, a relief over the facade depicts artefacts typical of the bronze work found in the Luristan region of Iran dating between 900 and 700 BC.

Arts West fits best for Melbourne University
Arts West exterior

With sections of the building yet to open, the seven-level complex provides a new home of the Bachelor of Arts. According to the project's webpage, "The new spaces have been purpose designed, and include facilities for collaborative and project-based learning, interactive learning (including a cinema- quality interactive theatre), a media laboratory, and lecture and discursive spaces.

There are two specialised teaching rooms to combine the great potential for object-based learning presented by the Cultural Collections with our responsibilities for the care and conservation of these precious objects."

Arts West has also eyed off a 5 star Green Star Education v1 Design rating.

A recessed ground level looks to reference existing stone archways within the Parkville campus, albeit with more modern materials.

Arts West fits best for Melbourne University
Arts West's recessed ground level

The surrounding area consists of new spaces, with extensive seating and planting softening the project's edge. Visible along the Arts West perimeter is an embossed concrete path which references the Wurundjeri people.

The new landscape works are in the process of being extended to the Melbourne Brain Centre, providing an enhanced link between the two buildings.

In terms of sustainability, Arts West reflects Melbourne University's drive to become a far more sustainable campus. Initiatives such as natural ventilation, water capture and thermal control all aid the building in its goal of achieving a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to an equivalent BCA code compliant building.

See further images of Melbourne University's Arts West redevelopment below.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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