Rethinking educational facilities

Stoic. Austere. Quite frankly, boring. Traditional architecture for educational facilities has rarely been what one might call exciting or innovative. Like many public workspaces, function oftentimes takes precedence over form, and design oftentimes focuses on efficiency rather than aesthetics.

But we’re not okay with that. Who says functional buildings have to be boring? What law states that form and function can’t coexist? The Swanston Academic building at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University is proof positive that form and functionality can be two sides of the same coin.

Because the building is located in the heart of Melbourne, the design team from architectural firm Lyons wanted to create a structure that melded seamlessly with the existing architecture while still remaining academically useful. The goal was to “exemplify modern learning in a metropolitan environment.” And it appears the building will do just that.

The Swanston building is much more than just an attractive facade. A multitude of environmentally friendly features (from solar power panels to rainwater collection tanks, as well as lighting and AC controls which are user activated to prevent overuse) ensure the RMIT’s newest facility retains high functionality and remains self-sustaining.

Thinking and work like this inspires us at The Korte Company. Modern architecture is about mixing creative design with solid functionality. The Swanston Academic building ensures that students will learn these ideals in a building that exemplifies them. That’s important. We’ve always said that a building is much more than an organized pile of wood, beams, screws and nails. It’s a living and breathing thing that can truly empower those that call it “home” to do great things. And when it comes to students, the drivers of our collective future, would you want anything less?

Read more about how architects of educational facilities are working smart to change design rules in this thought-provoking piece from Architecture Source.

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