Bendigo TAFE’s Health and Community Centre of Excellence has received an international award.
Designed by Melbourne architecture practice ClarkeHopkinsClarke, the centre has been recognised for its outstanding design within the category of education.
ClarkeHopkinsClarke partner Justin Littlefield said it was an honour to have received international recognition for the Bendigo TAFE project.
“ClarkeHopkinsClarke commenced working with Bendigo Kangan Institute in November 2016,” Mr Littlefield said.
“Over six months we developed the design, utilising a highly collaborative process incorporating numerous stakeholder workshops to ensure that the project reflected the needs and vision of Bendigo TAFE and the end users.”
The building was awarded the Shaw Contract Education Design Award in the USA and was judged among 500 other projects.
CHC focused on ‘three key pillars’ during the design process.
“Our vision was to transform the campus into an active, vibrant place that prioritises the learner and creates an open and welcoming street interface for the Bendigo community,” Mr Littlefield said.
“This was done by replacing the existing brickwork of the building with high-performance double-glazing that provides an activated façade that allows people to see in and connect with the creative ideas and vibrancy occurring within the building.”
“A key component of creating a healthy building is creating an enjoyable and sustainable place to work and learn,” Mr Littlefield said.
“This was done through the promotion of natural light, ventilation, landscaping and environmentally sustainable design features. We wanted to ensure the architecture of the building would aid productivity and wellbeing for students, visitors, lecturers and staff.”
“Connectivity was achieved by promoting the use of a central courtyard as a student and community space where people can congregate and share ideas,” Mr Littlefield said.
“This also inspired the cellular theme which is reflected through all aspects of the design.”
Challenges of the project
During the design process CHC were conscious the learning spaces would need to be easily adaptable to various programs based on ever changing class sizes and different modes of learning.
“This has been achieved through the inclusion of flexible furniture and operable walls that allow spaces to be adjusted and reconfigured to suit the class size and evolving class needs over time, and providing technology activated spaces that support multiple uses,” Mr Littlefield said.
The building refurbishment involved implementing design features that were retrofitted into the structure which include re-insulation of walls to enhance thermal performance, using sustainably sourced timber and steel, motion and daylight sensing LED lighting and other aspects which enhance the learning experience.
Bendigo TAFE’s response
CEO Trevor Schwenke said the award recognised the creative thinking that went into the creation of the centre.
“It recognises our belief that we built something special,” Mr Schwenke said.
“It was designed to complement the heritage School of Mines building next door so it’s a smooth transition between the old and new. The new landscaping opens up the entire campus to create an active and vibrant space for students and the local community.”
The centre will house simulation laboratories and learning areas for students undergoing training within health, aged care, child services and justice.
Mr Schwenke said students had responded positively to the new building.
“The state-of-the-art specialist simulation labs allow them to develop skills in a hands on, practical environment and prepare for the workforce,” he said.
“The new student hub, study nooks, break out spaces and garden are being embraced and well utilised by the students. It's a busy, thriving centre and a great place to study and work.”