Category Archives: Education

Monash International Bachelor of Business City Campus a 2015 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Global Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Natalie Boston from Jackson Clements Burrows addresses the design process for Monash International Bachelor of Business City Campus in Melbourne, Australia.

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Describe this project in one word.

Connectivity.

Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The original site had evolved via the ad-hoc connection of five separate buildings into a 3200 sqm single floor plate spanning an entire city block. The outcome was a large floor plate with very little natural light, disjointed planning and difficult wayfinding.

Our key objective was to enable the planning and design of the college to facilitate a level of interaction within the college community that would lead to a strong and cohesive student cohort. Our journey commenced as a highly collaborative process in which the idea for an internal urban campus was developed to meet Monash’s vision of a design solution that would explore and challenge the preconceptions of traditional tertiary teaching spaces.  Our planning strategy which embraced the key principles of Connection, Experience, Diversity, Journey, Engagement and Choice.

Following these key principals, we proceeded to forge cross-campus connections via a primary pathway that connected and linked the entire floorplate.

The result is a unique urban campus that offers a balance of sophistication and fun in a flexible functional environment that complements Monash’s vision of a visionary design solution for the International Bachelor of Business.

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How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

The brief called for a diverse facility that would allow teaching and learning to occur in an innovative and flexible way, to support a ‘student-centered’ pedagogy of active learning.

A variety of informal & more structured learning spaces were pivotal to a successful design, providing the users choice.

Enabling both independent learning and collaborative group work, both formally and informally to encourage knowledge sharing and spontaneous exchanges.

Bookable ‘formal classroom’ spaces are available in varying sizes, rich in AV and designed to accommodate both collaborative group work & AV centric information delivery modes, including two large 70-80ppl flat floored Lectorial spaces, provide choice and options for lecturers and students alike to choose the right format space for the specific task to be undertaken, be that a lecture, flip-classroom workshop or discussion group.

The final result provides the following;

  • Space planning with a hierarchy of ‘campus’ connections to form the basis of a collegiate cohort.
  • A spatial solution informed by the urban context, providing an aspirational ‘inner-city’ experience, enhanced by planning that encourages ‘travel’ and spontaneous interaction.
  • A vibrant environment conducive to networking that encourages peer to peer interaction
  • Classrooms, each with a unique identity, that can be easily reconfigured to suit different teaching styles and disciplines
  • A variety of convivial communal and individual break out spaces, providing choice and opportunity to study or socialise between classes, promoting a ‘sticky’ campus.
  • An easy interface between the teachers and students to encourage discussion and interaction.

CARPET

We searched for a flooring product that could work harmoniously with both the planning and the design requirement for diverse spaces, each possessing a unique identity across a wide spectrum, from subtle sophistication to stimulating and vibrant.

The interlocking and non-linear nature of the Hexagon range was ideal, for a number of reasons, including;

  • to control the flow and pattern of the carpet and colour in any direction, particularly important in reinforcing the circulation and connectivity of the meandering primary pathway.
  • playing with pattern and colour allowed us to blur the thresholds between spaces, which reinforced their flexible and free flowing nature.
  • designed layout so colour ‘flowed’ across room thresholds and into the primary pathway; this identified rooms from a distance and assisted in intuitive wayfinding
  • Each learning space was prescribed a distinct colour, as part of the desire for theses spaces to feel different. The choice of different tones of the same colour, allowed us to colour-block rooms and create an intensity at the centre of the room that dissipated towards the rooms perimeter.

The Hexagon carpet tile significantly contributed to this project’s success outcome by supporting a strong design concept through the product’s innovative form and unparalleled flexibility.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

In a fast paced, accelerated programme project where the client brief is not fully developed, it is critical to produce a return brief for client sign off to capture and describe your best understanding of the clients aspirations, and in doing so become a valuable brief development tool & tracker.

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Santiago School of Rock a 2015 Design Is…Award Global Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms of Global Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Enrique Gonzalez Barrenechea from EGBARQ addresses the design process for School of Rock in Santiago Chile.

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Describe this project in one word.

Roquero (closest translation:  rocky – like mountainous terrain)

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

We focus design around experiences, how users live and how we can enhance, exalt it, feel and transmit. Santiago School of Rock is an experience of how music lessons and rehearsals can be experienced in different environments. Each room has an educational purpose. We worked with large image formats representing the different styles, classes and celebrities to help convey ‘rock’ in the classroom. Students are joyful regarding all aspects of the school – they don’t want to leave, they feel they are part of it. With a good design, the user wants to stay within the experience. Supporting the success of this institution, the school is listed second in enrollment world wide.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The start of the design process has different stages. The first is to establish the real needs of the program. Second, determine how they interact with each other.  This is followed by looking at the technical requirements,  and finally, identifying the resources you have to set up the project. When all of these things are clarified, you open the door to the intuition and interpretation of these goals – and start designing. After a final review of all parts again –  and then of the design, there is a period of back-and-forth – always increasing the quality of the design and to balance of all the inputs. We support our work with 3d images, models, sketchs, drawings, schemes, samples of finishing materials. We are obsessive.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

Before advocating completely to the design of the expression of the project, make sure all technical aspects are in line. If  designing a kitchen, you would first make sure the user will be able to properly cook within this space.

Listen to the client, he knows his needs better than you do.

Allow others to participate in the design process. It´s always good to have the collaboration of others.

No matter the budget you have for the project, there are always ways to be creative. Review the elements and don’t overlook anything. There always ways to improve the design.

Practice coherence. All parts must add up to the major design. The language can be the same but not the expression.

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Manzanita Hall a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Stephanie LaVoy addresses the design process for Manzanita Hall in Tempe, AZ.

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Describe this project in one word.

Iconic.

How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?

The design team was challenged with modernizing a 1967 building, making it more functional and welcoming to students, while maintaining the historic architectural character.  The common areas were opened up, connecting previously segmented areas, creating more cohesive communal amenity areas that are so important in a modern residential hall.

The addition of the two story lounges connects residential floors to foster community interaction.  the lounges span between the unused exterior interstitial space of the building, exposing the original triangular lattice structure.  These neighborhood spaces provide residents with communal kitchens, lounges, laundry facilities and study rooms & encourage student interaction.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.

The design team began with learning about the history of Manzanita Hall, analyzing the functionality and where improvements could be made that would impact student life.  The team was sensitive to the iconic quality of the existing structure and worked hard to incorporate existing elements where appropriate, like the original terrazzo tile, and to echo the unique geometry of the structure with custom carpeting, lighting and artwork.  It was also important to balance the striking architectural elements & bold use of color and pattern to use a subtle finish palette of white, silver and grey.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow?

There are always unexpected issues when working with an existing structure, it’s important to be flexible and problem-solve when issues arise & find the most salient elements in order to maintain the integrity of the design.

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Mesa Community College a 2015 Design Is…Award Market Winner

Shaw Contract Group conducted interviews with all firms representing Market-Award winning projects from the 2015 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn more about the winning projects.  These are their stories.

Here, Maria Salenger addresses the design process for Mesa Community College in Mesa, AZ.

Describe this project in one word. Rhythmic.

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How does this project demonstrate how design can impact users in a space?The architecture is spacious and energetic to give artists a flexible and inspiring place to be creative collaboratively.

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Design is a process. Explain your journey.  Collecting the unique aspirations and needs of the college, we developed the project’s quantitative and qualitative aspects closely with our consultant team and user group. The design process of performing arts space is an enlightening experience no matter how many projects you have already completed.

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What are the most important lessons you’ve learned through this project that you’d want to share with the designers of tomorrow? Listen to and trust in the vision of your client.

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Dunbarton High School Named Greenest School on Earth

Congratulations to Dunbarton High School in Pickering, Ontario, Canada, for earning the title of the 2015 Greenest School on Earth. This annual competition, sponsored by the Global Coalition for Green Schools (an initiative of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC), recognizes a K-12 school for achievement in its environmental impact, human health and ecoliteracy.

I was honored to be one of the judges for the competition and amazed at what these schools are doing to make a difference in their school and the world. Choosing a single winner was extremely difficult. While reviewing submissions, the jury discovered so many incredible things being done around the world. Dunbarton emerged the winner because of its success meeting each of the three pillars of the competition.

Because the buildings were built in the 1960s, the school focused its efforts to reduce environmental impact on inexpensive retrofits (paid by fundraising efforts from the Environmental Club) and behavioral changes that involve students, teachers, faculty, staff, and the community. I love the fact that the school plans to spend a portion of the prize money on a garden that will be 20% for its own use and 80% for the local food bank.

For the human health component, the school is looking long-term, with a seven-year campus biodiversity program to provide trees to shade an outdoor classroom. The commitment to health continues with providing nutritious options in the cafeteria and vending machines, as well as water fountains with reusable water bottles.

One of the initiatives that separated Dunbarton from the rest is how it’s addressing the remaining pillar – ecoliteracy. Students take what they learn and apply it to their school. For example, science classes monitor school and campus air quality, local stream water quality and school electricity use. The students then use this data to create a conservation plan.

Congratulations Environmental Council

​Pickering Area Trustee Chris Braney congratulating the Environmental Council on their award – Greenest School on Earth.

Seeing the resourceful leadership that went into these entries reinforces our sense of pride in being a partner with the Center for Green Schools. To support the Center and their initiatives, including the Greenest School on Earth competition, go to centerforgreenschools.org and check out Shaw Contract Group’s Cut & Compose collection, 3 tile and 2 broadloom styles for which we are donating 1.5% of the proceeds to the Center for Green Schools.

 

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