Victorian Chapter Visits Trinity Grammar

Published: Tuesday 21 May 2013

Around 30 CEFPI members assembled on Thursday 2nd May to experience the Tudor Centre for Contemporary Learning at Trinity Grammar in Kew. Peter McIntyre (Architect) and Hamish McGlashan (Facilities Manager) were generously on hand to provide the background to the spaces they created.

The building is placed in the centre of the campus and defines the campus' main central plaza space to its north and is flanked by the campus sport field to the south. The building entry flows onto the plaza.

The centrepiece of the building is a large open 2 level space containing a series of interlinked, usually open, platforms & spaces connected by a continuous spiral ramp. Inside this ramp is an oval shaped display platform over an enclosed oval shaped closed seminar space at the bottom level. This is flanked to the outside by reference resource spaces, a dual height breakout space complete with large screen and a tiered A/V instructional space called 'the Steps'. The Centre's administrative spaces and workshops are also on this bottom level. Proceeding up the spiral ramp, there is a series of varied informal learning environments, from more secluded private study & recreational nooks to a more open café space ideal for casual collaboration. As required, there has been heavy emphasis on acoustic attenuation in the surface finishes used.

To me, the space conjures up an image of a Shopping Mall of dynamic casual learning & discovery spaces to be used by students as they wish or need. Unfortunately our tour was after school hours, but it would be very informative to observe how the space functions when filled with students and how it complements the remaining educational fabric of the campus.

On the level above this space, the layout is more traditional with cellular spaces flanking a large break-out project 'workshop' space, possibly inkeeping with the prescribed learning space mix on the campus.

The rooftop is partially trafficable and will contain a learning roof garden which is being established in conjunction with the University of Melbourne, Horticulture faculty. The remaining roofscape of thermal chimneys is evident here, as are the broad views over the surrounding suburbs.The building is constructed of precast & in-situ concrete that has often been left exposed & painted for serviceability. Thermal comfort is maintained without air-conditioning by circulating naturally cooled water from a tank under the adjacent sports field in combination with the building thermal mass and thermal chimneys.

The exterior of the building is highly articulated, clearly reflective of the internal nooks generated; and while of similar scale, the building form contrasts with the campus older & more 'traditional' buildings. The building cuts a low profile from the sports field, as it has been terraced well down from field level.

Overall, the Tudor Centre appears to demonstrate an interesting approach to creating a casual learning environment and in environmental sustainability that could be considered on other projects.

Fred Buono
Fred Buono Architects
CEFPI Member

The next CEFPI Victoria event is on Thursday 6th June at the Catholic Leadership Centre. Christian Long from Cannon Design, USA, will share his global insights of School Design following his visit to a selection of New Zealand and Melbourne Schools. Further information here