Responding to a brief for increased social interaction and inter-disciplinary kin-ship, the design harnesses current andragogy to deliver a scheme where visual connectivity is strong, learning is on display, and activated circulation spaces encourage students to stay on campus.
Central to the three-level building is a generously sized atrium, complete with coffee shop and a stair that also provides seating and room for gathering. All around are glass-enclosed workshops, seminar rooms and study areas that afford the visual transparency so crucial in today’s educational institutions.
Whereas previously, students were confined within the four walls of a traditional classroom, now they have access to everything that is being taught on campus, such as carpentry, plumbing, civil engineering and electrotechnology. This facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas, better preparing students for a role within industry.
A simple grid framework orders the interior, which includes a large workshop that contains a sandpit on the building’s southern side. This grid can be expanded or contracted as a means of futureproofing internal arrangements. Such adaptability also typifies the mix of practical-learning and theory-teaching spaces, with each featuring flexible furniture settings and the capacity to accommodate different-sized groups.
Clean lines and robust materiality including concrete, timber, and steel lend the building its minimalist, industrial aesthetic. While a colour palette of burnt orange, eucalyptus green, and soft blue, inspired by views of the Blue Mountains visible from the site’s Kingswood campus, adds definition, as well as warmth.
The new facility, through the implementation of sustainable construction and operational strategies, will be one of the first TAFE NSW Facilities to achieve Green Star Rating. From the integration of building management systems, passive design principles, and quality acoustic treatments, to the application of durable finishes and fine detailing, the Institute’s design demonstrates the importance of modernised specialist industry training centres, while reinvigorating the identity of TAFE NSW.