ANU Australian Centre on China in the World

Project Details

Architects
Munns Sly Moore Architects with Mo Atelier Szeto

Address
Building 188, Fellows Lane The Australian National University Canberra , ACT 0200 Australia

Submitter
Erik Innes

Photographer
Ben Wrigley

Project Overview

The ANU Australian Centre on China in the World is one of the world 's pre-eminent institutes studying China. The building embodies the basic tenets of Chinese planning, rooted in the inseparable relationship between landscape and built form. The design has created not a learning environment but a learning community.

The Australian National University, Australian Centre on China in the World is one of the world 's pre-eminent institutes studying China. The building embodies the basic tenets of Chinese architecture and planning, which are rooted in the inseparable relationship between landscape and built form, through a building that also reflects the Australian vernacular.

The landscape is introduced into the building through the use of gardens and courtyards, and in the placement of windows along planning axes, which deliberately frame views so that the structure and its surrounding environment are seamlessly integrated.
The design supports the creation of a public institution with spaces for interaction and the exchange of ideas, whilst providing an environment conducive to concentrated work. The building is inspired by a traditional Chinese architectural means of spatial procession and sequencing, resulting from an exploration of the separation and interaction of private and public realms.

The process of conception began with a detailed iterative consultation in the development of the Functional Brief and Statement of User Requirements. In most cases university buildings are – perversely – isolating places with corridors of offices with closed doors and occasional designated seminar rooms. The CIW was designed to break down these features to provide a much more open, cooperative, collegial learning environment that would encourage what most academics constantly say are the most productive interactions they experience – the corridor conversation, the serendipitous encounter, the insight that comes from an unstructured and unplanned discussion, the meeting with a colleague from an apparently unrelated field.

The building is not a pastiche of Chinese architectural forms and elements, but reinterprets, synthesizes and transforms traditional Chinese patterns and materials in a contemporary architectural response that reflects its location within a predominantly native landscape setting.
The design has created not a learning environment but a learning community; an active, interactive, and proactive place where educational and research potential is transformed into productivity, collegiality and fulfilment.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility