For many years, Edith Cowan University has been recognised for their commitment to research, innovation, and world class teaching facilities; Building 15, is no exception. Driven by the client’s desire to create an adaptive, modern learning environment and limited by the construction period; the outcome is functional, elegant, and bold.
The vision for the new science building at ECU, Joondalup Campus was to deliver a design which capitalizes on the location with a bold, yet elegant architectural statement. A key focus was to demonstrate careful consideration of scale, proportion, views, and aesthetic interest. The client wished to create a series of PC2 laboratory spaces which would enable the teaching of sciences in an open-plan environment.
The greatest challenge was to that the facility was to be operational for Semester 1, 2020, constraining all aspects of design and construction to a period of just 18 months
The facility resonates science and curiosity, with the activities of each level drawn together by the playful façade. The simple form and functional layout of the facility was informed by the constrained program. Through significant stakeholder engagement and conscientious planning, the result is a responsive and flexible learning environment, delivered on time and budget.
Spread across five-stories, Building 15 is comprised of;
• a 600m2 Central preparation laboratory (Level 1)
• two levels of open plan, warm shell tenancy spaces for professional engagement (Level 2 and 3)
• 3600m2 open PC2 Microbiology teaching laboratories and associated preparation laboratories (Level 4 and 5)
From the earliest concept, Silver Thomas Hanley sought to create an exterior façade that would project the teachings within onto the public realm. Both the façade and interior architecture are purposefully crafted to represent the School of Sciences and School of Health Sciences.
The form of the façade fenestration and panel arrangement takes its influence from DNA coding and incorporates chemical elements of the human body represented as supergraphics. Whilst the hexagonal form seen at the entry is reiterated throughout the interior architecture and is a subtle representation of chemical formula.
The PC2 Laboratories are founded on the pedagogy "superlab" concept and function as a multi-dimensional learning space, providing a flexible working environment for ECU students and professionals. Each 550m2 laboratory supports up to 96 students and is equipped with the required equipment benching and dedicated serviced fume hood & BSC areas. The integration of AV technology such as directional speakers (sound showers) and screens throughout the laboratory allows for multiple classes to be conducted simultaneously.
Designed as a melting pot for professional engagement and to enhance ECU's standing within the cyber security sector; Level 2 and 3 house a warm, open plan engagement space; providing a focal point for WA and Australia's growing cyber security industry and an interactive learning environment for students.
Embracing Salutogenic Design principles, Silver Thomas Hanley sought to create an environment which would promote activity and wellness within. The fire stair (conventionally a dull space) is transcended into a feature element, passively drawing occupants to utilise this in lieu of taking the lift.
Careful design decisions balance aesthetic interest with functional, sustainable outcomes such as the incorporation of high levels of insulation within the building fabric such as double-glazed performance glass to reduce solar gain.