OCULUS Australia was engaged to design the ground plane and roof top spaces for the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (FABP) by John Wardle Architects and NADAAA.
Set amongst one of Australia’s most historic campuses, the architectural and landscape design have been integrated to create a connected and porous ground floor plane. Old and new campus landscapes are knit together using the University of Melbourne’s grey brick as a continuous carpet. The new landscape offers many opportunities for student occupation; encouraging gathering, celebration, socialising, outdoor learning, and relaxing.
Masson Road along the southern interface emphasizes its role as a campus promenade. Seating nooks surrounded by mass plantings are located under established Elm trees. A raised lawn connects the glazed wall of the library with Masson Road and is bounded by an elegant concrete seating wall.
The northern space provides a series of outdoor workshop rooms, including a building zone adjacent to the workshop area, and a dedicated external learning area with oversized timber bleachers for outdoor tutorials. Tree planting provides a high canopy complimented by a structured understory of sensory planting.
The Elizabeth Murdoch Courtyard at the building’s eastern edge functions as a north-south thoroughfare and acts as an extended foyer to the main entrance. The FABP’s integration with the Joseph Reed façade is formed by an internal street that links the Elizabeth Murdoch courtyard and the Union Lawn through an entrance in the facade. Internal pavers blend discreetly with the external brick carpet of the eastern Courtyard and the slate paving of Union Lawn.
The grey bricks and other porous surface materials allow for the natural recharge of ground water, reducing irrigation requirements, which, when combined with extensive planting, reduce the urban heat island effect. Green infrastructure initiatives compliment the campus’s Master Plan and broader water harvesting strategies.