UniSA College: Centre for Science and Mathematics

This project allows the newly-established UniSA College to provide school outreach programs to capture the interest of northern suburbs secondary students in science and mathematics. It provides an experiential, collaborative learning environment space where students undertake science and mathematics learning in a very different way to their normal classes.

Project Details

Russell & Yelland Pty Ltd Architects.

Commendation - Category 3 An Education Initiative or a Design Solution for an Innovative Program

Building P, UniSA Mawson Lakes Campus Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes SA 5095

John Held, Russell & Yelland Architects

$308,000 +GST

Michael Bodroghy

Project Overview

The goals of this project were to provide:

  • an experiential learning environment that accommodated variable curriculum
  • a visually interesting environment to spark interest in the application of mathematics & science to occupants and passers-by
  • spaces that promoted collaborative learning
  • a flexible community space also used for in-service teacher training

UniSA has been working hard to increase the profile of science and mathematics in the northern suburbs, to help alleviate the shortage of graduates in disciplines such as mathematics, science and engineering.

The spaces allocated were dark, windowless rooms on the ground floor of a 1960s brick structure. One large loadbearing wall was demolished to create a single space, and small new windows added to the loadbearing corridor wall to provide visibility into the space and opportunities to display work. Standard university colour schemes were abandoned in favour of a more vibrant colour scheme of purple, yellow, green and clear finished recycled jarrah.

Because the design evolved at the same time as the curriculum, development of the brief was difficult until we asked them to describe "a day in the life of the facility”. This allowed the design team to shape the nature and function of the different areas to suit the varying activities.

Areas include sinks and flexible tables and benches for wet or dry practical activities; areas for robotics, electronics and 3D printing; a gathering space with full audio-visual equipment; a reading corner with banquette seating, bag lockers and secure storage for charging laptops.

From the commencement of the project the majority of the design was presented to the client interactively in 3D. It was fully documented in 3D in Revit to allow integration of services, lighting, joinery and AV. Design, documentation and construction was completed in only four months to suit the university’s timetable, and the construction met the university’s stringent value for money criteria.

Education spaces must not only be designed in a sustainable way, but act as the third teacher for its users. An example is the recycled jarrah ceiling over the reading corner, which represents a graph of global warming since 1850.

This page last updated: Tuesday 11 September 2012