The vision relies heavily on a few simple and effective moves . Internally a central ‘street’ runs east to west, slicing the plan in two. Required furniture storage, service spaces and bathrooms are all located on the northern half, split between three floors. This is a practical placing of these lower-order elements to the north, where a more conventional solid flat façade and reduced glazing respond to the serious northern solar penetration.
Caring little for the trappings of try-hard grandeur, CRAB cares very much for the qualities that might engender a rich learning environment. One that provides a wide variety of interconnected but distinct interior spaces, from social to private and from interactive to contemplative.
The street is much more than a circulation corridor. It also generates sociability, exchange and belonging.
Knee-high timber plinths serve as benches to dally around. Stairs peel off while lateral view lines through the building allow for people–watching…….
The large bespoke ‘scoops’ that line the street are undoubtedly the project’s masterstroke…… At ground level they encircle a series of modest meeting areas, whilst at the top they unfurl wildly, bending and curling through the central volume.
….The subtle humour of window shades to the north that look like a collection of raised eyebrows , the forest of timber columns that support billowing deep eaves on the south and the relaxed symmetry of furniture throughout the studio spaces (also designed by CRAB) all come together to make this building a celebration of the heterogeneous over the homogeneous, of occupation over object and of the particular over the general.
Andrew Mackenzie . Architectural Review. February 2014.