Sunday, 6 March 2011

Melbourne School of Land and Environment project

Friday morning I visited the on going project at the Melbourne School of Land and Environment  I believe it was previously Land and Food Resources.
This is a traditional red brick building which was used as a project brief at the very first Universitas 21 design forum led by Peter.
I really like what is being done here, especially the way that a neighbouring garden has been opened up to the building.
This picture shows the garden and the interesting building within through one of a series of wide openings in this wall.
 Here you can see the other side of the openings of which I believe there are 5 allowing plenty of natural daylight in. You will see the roof shape of a now demolished building on the right. The architects intend to clean the brick work but leave roof line as a reference to what has gone before. There are other places in the building where this has been done. A nice touch I thought.
 This is one of the teaching spaces which is tiered with a central aisle leading of to 'pods' on either side on three levels. One of the things we discussed here was the possibility of local lighting control. I have been pushing this at new spaces at Aberystwyth. If we are to provide pod like areas the users should have some control over the lighting which is best suited to their task, mood, motivation etc. We don't all like the same level of lighting. Walk down a corridor of offices and see what different lighting is in use, often something the occupant has provided themselves which I think demonstrates the importance of light to us. It may be too late in this case but the question is being asked.
 A different shot of the teaching space.
 This is a very interesting way to connect the indoors and exterior. The trees outside are part of the garden I mentioned above. There is a raised greenhouse type building in the distance and the architects have tried to connect these visually using similar elevations. This corridor could easily have been one of those wastes of space connecting areas that we are all familiar with. It reminded me very much of the team design I was involved with at the U21 event at UVA taking advantage of the oak canopy adjacent to the Carrs Hill fine arts library.
 A tighter shot of the one above.
 This is a glass writing wall within a science laboratory. This enlivened the space because everything else is in laboratory white which created a very sterile environment. I can here you say ' well it is a lab and white is what we use in labs'. Let's challenge that for a moment in the following pictures.
 This chamber has red, yellow, green, blue and black in it. It was a more interesting corner of the lab as a result. It had an identity of it's own in the mass of white everywhere else in the lab. To be honest I found that the light bouncing off the white strained my eyes.
 Now I am not suggesting a festival of colour such as Van Gogh or Dali may use but as an example could colour be introduced into these shelves? Or as Peter suggested the window reveals could be something other than white, which would also add some depth.

 I hope the project managers don't mind but I could not resist this in light of the signage problems Peter had at the airport. Everyone using the space will know this is the eyewash station but as you can see the sign is in the wrong position to do the job it is intended for. Move it 200mm problem solved. Attention to detail?

 I hope to visit again prior to departure to get some update pics.

On the way back to the office I was fortunate to come across one of Peter's early attempts at an outdoor spaces.

Only joking

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