The Monash University Learning and Teaching Building (LTB) proposes a building conceived as a field of activity more than a building; as an object within a field. The 1960’s campus master plan proposed an expansive native landscape in contrast to a traditional English campus setting. A series of modernist buildings were designed as objects surrounded by this landscape. The LTB takes a different typological approach, conceptually turning the modernist tower of the adjacent Menzies Building on its side to hug the ground akin to a mat-building. This leads to a sense of inhabiting a small city or township within a single building. Streets, courtyards, bridges, balconies and stairs are transformed into ravines, clearings, strands, perches, nests and amphitheatres that are choreographed to make a landscape of the interior. This interior is made of the materials of the campus (brick and timber) rendering the demarcation between inside/outside ambiguous. It is a place for learning, inextricably linked to its place, and fostered by settings within a landscape of unexpected encounter. As a multi-faculty learning facility, LTB provides a significant proportion of campus teaching spaces. Learning spaces are grouped in clusters and supported by informal learning ‘neighbourhoods’. The clusters break down the scale of the building into intimate settings for students to inhabit. The major interior spaces have a specific character. Ancora Imparo Way is treated like a ravine that meanders through the building. The brick towers are reminiscent of pottery kilns at Stoke-on-Trent, England – a reference to the process of firing that starts with a malleable clay is abstractly like the process of learning. At the centre of the plan is a sawtooth roof that draws diffuse southern light into the interior. A pattern of rhomboidal skylights connect and unite the public spaces of the building with natural light from above.
Credits: - Marshall Day - PLP - du Chateau Chun - MEL Consulting - GTA Consulting - Aspect Studio - IrwinConsult - Multiplex - McGregor Coxall & Realm Studios - Buro North - Douglas Partners - Arup - NDY