MSD building collects two major awards

November 15 / 171

Melbourne School of Design. Photo credit: Peter Bennetts
Melbourne School of Design. Photo credit: Peter Bennetts


The Institute Of Structural Engineers, based in London, announced on Friday that the Melbourne School of Design won best education project at the Structural Awards 2015.


This is a significant award as it covers several categories, and is awarded "for excellence in the structural design of buildings… which either facilitate learning or support healthcare…”

The award comes hot on the heels of the 2015 National Architecture Awards on 5 November, at which the Melbourne School of Design won The Daryl Jackson Award for Educational Architecture. It’s the first time the Australian Institute of Architects has given the award. The awards tally for the new home of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at University of Melbourne is now at thirteen,  significant recognition to a building that has only been open to students for less than a year.


At Friday night’s Structural Awards, the judges commented that they were “struck by this unusual building which was designed specifically to teach the students about design, structure and construction. So the principal structural materials, wood, steel and concrete, are all used and incorporated to demonstrate their qualities.  Wood is represented by a huge LVL roof to the central atrium; steel by a scissor staircase, and a three-storey high 12 metre cantilever; and concrete by exposed in-situ beams and post-tensioned slabs - a built dictionary of exposed structure.”


The Melbourne School of Design was commissioned via an international design competition in 2009. A key element of the brief was “Built Pedagogy”, the concept that the building itself would teach the students about design, structure and construction. The design team adopted a carefully considered program of exposing a number of key structural elements, and also achieves a 6 Star Green Star Education Design Rating and was the first in Australia to achieve all available innovation points. It was also delivered on budget and four months ahead of program. 

Previous ABP Dean Tom Kvan, who played a major role in the competition that led to the creation of the award-winning new building, says it’s a significant award which reflects well on the overall intention of the building:

“A key aspect in the design and creation of the Melbourne School of Design was that it embody ‘built pedagogy’, meaning future students would learn not just from teaching in the building, but from the building itself. This award is yet another significant acknowledgement from industry that we’ve done exactly what we set out to do.” 


Story by Louisa Deasey

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