It was like a warren that many would stumble on to be gone himself astray. If you could recall the old edifice of school of architecture at the University of Melbourne, the new building now shows a sea change itself in comparison with its older version.
The Melbourne based architect John Wardle and Boston-based architect Nader Tehrani, as architects in collaboration, to house the university's faculty of architecture, building and planning.
The new building has already stood in order’s stead.
The new building is fair, is a wonderful new construction with new facility, in glass and wood and concrete and zinc, designed for appreance and engagement, filled with the kinds of intricacy, which have come to spot much of Wardle's creativity.
Like most multipart buildings, this one has errors too: the southern facade appears weak in the extreme, and the perforated zinc sun shading system on the other three sides is heavy and shroud-like; it is evenly poised, a refreshing and much needed addition to the university's stock, better inside than outwardly.
The building straddles the footprints of the old architecture school and the Old Commerce Building, which were demolished, and stands across from a sandstone Collegiate Gothic pile, the Elisabeth Murdoch Building, the two separated by a new plaza, with the splayed “arms” of the MSD appearing to reach out.
It is large. Where the old school provided for only 700 students and employees, the new version of MSD has catering spaces for 2000 students and offices for 200 staff, with three lecture theatres, the largest a state-of-the-art 500-seater room.
“Much is made of the design and safety merits of a mesh banister long-drawn-out over the whole height of the atrium, placed there because it was the least disruptive choice. It is an equivocate,” said Joe Rollo of Sydney Morning Herald.
Elements of the old school are being incorporated into the new: the beautiful Japanese Room and Garden will be reinstated into the top floor, while the Napier Waller mural will be reinstalled in the library. The Joseph Reed Bank of NSW facade of 1856, formerly attached to the Old Commerce Building, has been restored and retained.