Building Design

Building Design - Architect Render

“The Learning Facilities of the future is not as sci-fi as we imagine. Instead of whiz-bang gadgetry and bells and whistles reminiscent of The Jetsons, the Learning Facility of the future is all about sustainability, energy efficient design, an expression of the individual, and a hotbed of creativity and inspiration”

The Whittlesea Tech School building will provide an asset to students and the community, providing an exciting focal point to celebrate innovation and STEM in the local area.

The development of the built environment has been the result of extensive consultation and ongoing development. After over 12 months of planning and development we are on track to open mid-2018.

Building will commence in September 2017 to develop a brand new, two level Tech School. Less than 40 minutes north of Melbourne’s CBD, this site will be prominently positioned on Dalton road Epping, on Melbourne Polytechnic’s Epping Campus.

The Architects

Clarke Hopkins ClarkeClarke Hopkins Clarke Architects were appointed to design the Whittlesea Tech School. The building has been designed as a resource hub for students, teachers, community and industry, with a mixture of a contemporary external and edgy interior design. The layout encourages easy flow and movement into spaces, to enable a design thinking process of ideation, creation, building, testing and implementation.

The Architects based in Collingwood, have brought a little bit of Collingwood’s creative spirit to the site! The interior has been designed intentionally to create a gender-neutral space that promotes wonder and inspires girls to engage in STEM learning. It boasts natural timbers, a green pallet and pops of colour, with a café style student hub, that creates a vibrant and exciting feature. High ceilings, a mezzanine floor and high-tech equipment has already sparked the interest of community looking to host events on site.

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The Philosophy

The philosophy behind the design was to create a building with presence, that has a similar feel to a gallery, museum or library. The successful sustainability of these public spaces and cultural institutions is that they continually renew themselves, therefore remaining a highly-valued resource within the community. The Whittlesea Tech School will be established as a key cultural asset for the community.

With an awareness of the rapid growth within the Whittlesea area, the design of the Tech School has been to integrate it into the location where it sits alongside existing educational offerings. The Tech School will assist in creating an education precinct, complimenting the existing Melbourne Polytechnic campus facilities, as well as early childhood setting and secondary school located in the immediate area. In addition, the immediate proximity of the Epping railway station enables access to public transport.

With this context in mind, the Whittlesea Tech School has adopted a ‘networked’ theme. Whether it is by rail, virtually or through face to face or social networks, this facility enables people to connect, share and create together. This is also reflected in the internal treatment of the building which displays a number of ‘tracks’ leading to key motif’s representing Australia’s entrepreneurs and inventors. This will serve as an inspiration for the 14,000 young minds that will have opportunity to attend the site each year.

Nestled amongst Melbourne Polytechnic’s Green Skills Sustainability Centre and Library and opposite St. Monica’s College, the exterior has been designed to ensure the building creates a sense of integration with existing design. Outdoor learning environments connects the Tech School to the existing landscape, enabling immersion on a higher education setting whilst establishing a real sense of place and community.

The Whittlesea Tech School building itself functions as a teacher, with ques and prompts to encourage curiosity into scientific principles and engineering. A range of sustainability concepts have been incorporated into the design, including thermal mass walls, cross ventilation and a night purge system which keeps windows and other passive ventilation openings closed during the day, but opens at night to flush warm air out of the building and cool thermal mass for the next day.

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Key Interior Spaces Include:

Exhibition & Curation
Exhibition is a key focal point of the Tech School. A carefully curated gallery space at the entrance of the Tech showcases prototypes and the design thinking process that students work through, to solve real problems alongside industry and community. The space creates an atmosphere of inspiration, learning and achievement. Twice a year, a major event will be held for community to celebrate the accomplishments of the bright young minds in our Tech School.

Digital & Physical Design & Experimentation

These spaces combine manufacturing and high-tech digital equipment for the purposes of enabling design, prototype and creation.

The digital and physical Design labs promote active investigation and inquiry, authentic interdisciplinary projects in Science, Technology Engineering, Art and Maths.

Industry Discovery Hub

This space provides an opportunity to showcase local industry and innovation in Melbourne’s North and beyond. The industry hub promotes active investigation and inquiry, highlighting students working alongside industry, immersed in authentic interdisciplinary learning.

Collaboration, Ideation & Reflection

An open plan area with a number of smaller collaboration and discussion spaces, located on the mezzanine looking out over the gallery to create atmosphere that promotes ideation, reflection experimentation and design.

Student Hub

A student hub looks out onto Dalton Road, creating a bright and airy space. Designed as an informal, café style space with shared tables, informal break out spaces and hot desks, this is a welcoming space that encourages collaboration and spark new interests over a bit to eat or coffee!

Large windows provide a clear view through the Tech School from the street, revealing an active student hub, gallery and presentation space, which creates interest from the local community.

Meeting Spaces

The importance of being able to connect and collaborate is embedded in the tech school through the provision of a range of spaces available to utilise for research individually or in small groups. This includes informal break-out spaces and also specialised rooms equipped with industry leading technology for virtual conferencing and meetings for students, community and industry.

Presentation Space

The presentation space is inspiring environment utilised for informal learning, information sessions, presentations, meetings, film viewings and guest lecturers. The stair case is doubled as an informal learning and lounging space that can cater up to 120 people.