Creating a setting that encourages group work and peer to peer critique is essential to the teaching of Architecture and Interior Design. With a theme of collaboration, dwp|suters’ concept for refurbishment of QUT’s School of Design redefines the purpose of the entry undercroft into an informal gathering environment: ‘the forum’. The space functions as group presentation area, event launch location, group work/lunchtime gathering/lounging space. Adjacent to the forum, the signature entry experience is a gallery dedicated to a permanent built model of Brisbane City, which offers students an immersive understanding of their city’s urban framework and scale.
New timber and warm coloured materials used throughout the refurbishment act in juxtaposition to complement the existing bare concrete finishes. The application of recycled timber is a nod to subtropical Queensland timber batten architecture and emphasises spatial connectivity both horizontally and vertically. Significant glazing is introduced to open sightlines, showcase student/academic interaction and optimise the use of gathering spaces. Colour is applied in carefully curated locations to enhance the new works, but equally respecting the existing finishes. The refurbishment introduces the option for students to work extended hours in an inspiring, safe setting. Student bookable rooms are inserted into a larger space with interchangeable furniture, providing students with the opportunity to remain on campus 24/7. Enhancing connection with business, the ‘boardroom’ provides a space where industry is encouraged to work on campus to conduct strategy planning meetings in a creative atmosphere.