Elizabeth Murdoch Learning Space

Location

Parkville, Victoria

Year

2019 – 2020

Services

Principal Consultant
Architecture
Contract Administration
Interior Design
Workplace Strategy and Design
Landscape design
Design team management

A spacious auditorium with sleek black chairs and vibrant green seats, designed for optimal learning space.

Overview

This project required the redevelopment of an existing tiered lecture theatre located in the heritage Elizabeth Murdoch building on the Parkville Campus, with the aim to provide a more intimate theatre space and an alternate teaching space.

Collaborating with the stakeholders, that included the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education and University Space Planning, we developed an idea that provided three key spaces – a redefined foyer / breakout zone, a smaller and more flexible lecture theatre, and a new 30 seat teaching space that can open up onto the lecture theatre.

Besides using the new classroom as a standalone teaching space, the design allows for it to be combined with the lecture theatre, enabling the two spaces to be used together. This feature allows the classroom space to add unique functionality to the lecture theatre, including:

  • providing an observation space for lectures in progress;
  • increasing the capacity of the lecture theatre; and
  • providing a support or withdrawal space akin to a ‘green room’, enabling groups of students to prepare for presentations or to support group work.
Designing for flexibility

The design incorporated acoustic glass screens and a custom audio visual installation to enhance flexibility and functionality and ensure the new classroom and reinvented lecture theatre would support the University’s needs into the future.

A white and black curved wall with circular holes, showcasing a modern and innovative learning space design.
Black chairs in a Learning Space design.

A valuable transformation

The transformation of an old lecture theatre has brought new spatial and tech-enabled functionality, effectively extending its useful life and ensuring that the learning spaces continue to be a valued resource.