Project 2: Holmesglen Student Hub and Learning Commons

“The vibrant central ‘urban square’ was conceived as a new social heart for the campus to promote activity, drive collaboration and provide flexible study environments for students”

  • The new building acts as a billboard, providing clarity of movement and promotes activity at the heart of the campus
  • The project involved adaptive re-use of an existing 1970’s building and construction of a new wing to provide an innovative new Learning Commons, formal & informal meeting spaces and Student Hub/Information Office facility

The Student Hub and Learning Commons building is a landmark project for Holmesglen Institute of TAFE at their Moorabbin campus. Crosier Scott Architects cohesively connected a campus of disjointed buildings within a complex multi-facility learning centre. Through clever planning the Learning Commons works as a single facility made up of several flexible study and social zones.

Prior to development the campus lacked a social heart or civic space and distinction between Holmesglen and Healthscope Hospital. The user experience was one of fragmentation and a lack of coherence. External public spaces were disconnected and unwelcoming and the campus lacked any kind of identifiable entry-point.

The evolution of teaching and learning models along with increasing student numbers necessitated the creation of new spaces for learning, socialising and everything in-between. Crosier Scott Architects embraced this opportunity to design a building that supports the college’s pedagogical ideals by creating an innovative new multi-modal facility.

The concept of a ‘Sticky Campus’ was adopted, that is a place that will make students want to stick around even if they have no lectures to go to. Included in the design brief were spaces where students feel comfortable, an environment that was easy to navigate, access to outdoor areas, natural light indoors and a range of attractors, including a decent cup of coffee, a comfortable place to rest and a range of spaces to study alone or in a group.

The Student Hub functions as the main entry to the campus, providing a much needed amenity including a world-class library, concierge point, cashier and banking facilities, exhibition space, a variety of flexible learning and meeting spaces, a vibrant social area, a number of quiet study nooks, and retail spaces.

The new building provides a range of useful settings that engage students and give them ownership over their learning journey. The design strategically uses windows to expand sightlines across the campus and improve green space connections. Natural light filters through voids and windows in a unique way to brighten and enhance the student experience. The colours adopted are fun, vibrant and cool.

The way the new building aligns itself spatially was a pivotal strategy to open up access and circulation around the campus. The central hub gathers the campus together thematically, while offering a visual lightness and porosity for easy orientation across the campus, providing a public realm that emphasises the generous open forecourt and expansive galleria while unifying disparate elements and weaving them together as an integrated whole. The surrounding piazza is attractive, accessible, functional and safe, drawing on three-dimensional connections with the landscape, footpaths, open space, and trees.

The success of the new building can be measured by its use and adoption by the student cohort. This was achieved by designing collaboratively and with clarity of purpose, producing a built response across a number of varied-use spaces under a single conceptual idea. The building’s form is both expansive and porous, bringing legibility to the internal functions. The architecture produces a strong connection to climate and landscape, employing clear and honest expressions of structure and material underpinned by concepts that exploit space, light, shadow, and view opportunities.

Key sustainability innovations were led by the adaptive reuse of existing building stock to create a higher usage building, consolidating built form and maximising open space that connects to the existing network of the campus.

The design utilises the site’s orientation to integrate passive heating and cooling, utilising prevailing shadow, breeze and views while prioritising the deployment of environmentally and ethically sustainable materials, structural elements and construction methods.

 Long-term sustainability is provided by delivering spaces that are flexible and multi-modal in a porous building envelope shaped to create a variety of spaces for learning, recreation and outdoor activities.

“The important experience of arriving at the facility has been re-described to provide a vibrant destination & central hub with the inclusion of an active ‘urban square’ and a distinctive landmark building.” Crosier Scott Architects 

Holmesglen Student Hub and Learning Commons


Designer: Crosier Scott Architects ,

Builder: Raysett Constructions

Building Surveyor: McKenzie Group Consulting

Structural Engineer: Hive Engineering

Services Engineer: ECM Group

Fire Engineer: WSP

Quantity Surveyor: Wilde and Woollard

Photographer: Jack Lovel Photography


Viridian Glass

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