UniSA Mt. Gambier Learning Centre

Project Details

Russell & Yelland and Guida Moseley Brown, Architects in Association

Commendation Category: 2 - New Construction: Major Facility

Wireless Road West Mount Gambier SA 5290


Project Overview

New learning Centre for delivery of University courses to the south-east of South Australia, comprising gallery/community/lecture theatre; common piazza area; tutorial rooms, collaborative computing areas and specialist spaces for education, health sciences, nursing and social work, with new high-speed fibre links to other UniSA centres.

Jury Citation

This project is much more than a learning centre. It needs to cater for a complex range of stakeholders that included both regional and visiting metropolitan staff utilizing workspaces and teaching facilities. A north/south plan orientation has the central "piazza" forming a linear spine linked to a variety of spaces and uses with flexibility a major ingredient- to allow for future as yet undetermined uses. The specialist learning spaces include a hospital ward, simulation laboratories and collaborative learning spaces. The inverted roof/ ceiling provides an abundance of natural light and high ceilings- this has had a significant contribution to the success of the piazza. The introduction of local materials- stone and timber in key locations in the design, have reinforced the connection with the local community.

The new Learning Centre provides first-time university access for locals from Mt Gambier and surrounding regions. It encourages mature-aged entry to university, provides indigenous pathways to higher education, and creates a social hub for university and TAFE students and educators. A multifunctional space was part-funded by local Councils and is available as a community facility for lectures, conferences, exhibitions and performances.

The design team, together with the client users, relocated the site to create a consolidated tertiary precinct and establishes a new identity adjacent to, and integrated with, the neighbouring TAFE. A central communal space forms a student hub which in-turn extends into the flexible Gallery space/lecture theatre. The central roof form allows natural light deep into the plan and creates a unifying volume which is the centre of all connectivity of the building. Teaching, learning, administration, support spaces, and amenities branch off as lower-height wings. Regional association and identity is established through the use of local stone and timber, together with a large carpet, the design of which was abstracted from an aerial photo of the region, and the fireplace.

The building position, form, local stone entry walls, and lantern-like south facing window contribute to an inviting and engaging integration of the university and its facilities with the community.

Sustainability objectives were guided by the Green Star Education framework and include passive design principles including the detail design of the envelope and glazing, the use of natural light, collection of rainwater, and innovative gas powered chillers. Of equal value is the project’s contribution to a sustainable community through the provision of tertiary education and community facilities, the use of local materials and systems, to achieve a target of 50% local sub-contractors and 75% local labour. The project also included the installation of the new regional high speed data link, which benefits the whole local community.

The University noted the strong collaborative team approach across numerous university departments, consultants, and the builder to produce the outstanding building outcomes.

This page last updated: Tuesday 24 May 2016

2016 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility