Creating new and successful learning environments is not solely based on good design. Stakeholder input is critical to the design process. GWA facilitated several stakeholder workshops and developed a robust brief that encapsulated not only how the end users currently work and communicate but also how their future aspirations could be met.
As part of this project, UTS and GWA had the opportunity to explore how current commercial workplace solutions could be adapted to provide new kinds of learning environments. This Activity Based Environment (ABE) provides a greater level of amenity, beyond the conventional open plan and shared offices models. Here GWA adopted design principles that maximised adaptability and flexibility; improved visual connectivity via planning and material selection and maximised natural light and external views. The final goal is that this ABE will be a prototype for future projects within UTS.
Integrating the new requirements into CB10 proved to be a highly complex and challenging exercise – only two of the seven allocated floors would be completely unoccupied at the time of construction. Thus working in live environments, workplace safety and minimising disruption to existing occupants were key considerations during all project stages.
A significant element of the new teaching spaces and laboratories is virtual classroom technology. UTS FASS and FoH are at the forefront of virtual teacher and nursing training, with their classes and research extending globally beyond the physical classroom. GWA’s design proposals enabled seamless integration of technology into new and existing spaces, whether these were dedicated ‘classrooms’ or accidental spaces where students may gather.