An iconic, yet user-friendly building, which responds to its context and provides a variety of flexible teaching and learning spaces.
The Ballarat Learning Exchange aims to bridge the gap between various educational institutions, such as TAFE and secondary school, by providing broad-ranging, vocational training opportunities. The project involved the refurbishment of an existing 1,000m2 building with an additional 1,500m2 of new accommodation. The brief was established collaboratively through a series of workshops with user and operations groups.
Given the facility’s location – within a high-profile precinct, surrounded by historic and contemporary buildings – the challenge lay in creating an iconic, yet user-friendly, building which would respond to the context in an appropriate manner. A public art installation in the form of a bold red, metal screen incorporates abstracted, relevant imagery, creating a point of reference in the streetscape. The screen is folded and perforated to provide sun protection to the west while allowing ambient light to enter from the south. The internal program is defined by a three-level circulation gallery that defines the centre of the building. This gallery acts as an orientation space and a light well. The plan revolves around a central courtyard, with visual connections between the gallery space. The courtyard creates a colourful focal point in the heart of the building, connecting external environment to internal atmosphere.
The palette comprises materials including precast concrete panels, metalwork and timber cladding, that use colour and texture to provide a youthful and inspiring environment, while externally making a bold contemporary statement.
RAIA VIC Regional Prize
- Film and TV broadcast studio
- Multimedia rooms
- IT spaces
- Flexible classroom and workshop areas
- Brief developed collaboratively, with extensive user consultation
- Variety of teaching and support spaces provided
- Building responds to its location within a high profile precinct, with adjacent historical buildings
- Contribution to the public realm with bold, red public artwork