10 August 2006

Three University of Queensland buildings, designed by the recipient of the state’s most prestigious architecture award, will inform the future design of libraries and places of learning.

The Collaborative Research Centre in the Sir James Foots building, the Biological Sciences Library, and the Ipswich campus library, will be case studies for a collaborative research project by Wilson Architects and the University.

Funded by the Federal Government’s Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, the research aims to develop a new framework for the collaborative design of libraries and learning places that considers new methods of teaching and learning, new uses of space and future technology.

The research is titled "Designing Next Generation Places of Learning: Collaboration at the Pedagogy-Space-Technology Nexus".

Principal investigators for the project are Professor David Radcliffe, Thiess Professor of Engineering Education and Professional Development and Mr Derek Powell, Manager, Teaching Technology Support, Information Technology Services, at The University of Queensland, and Wilson Architects’ Managing Director, Hamilton Wilson.

"We each have overlapping interests and complementary expertise in the design of learning environments from the perspectives of teaching theory, technology and space," Mr Wilson said.

“The outcomes of the research project will influence the development of future learning spaces across the Australian and international higher education sector.

"The findings will help the sector to move beyond simply designing teaching and learning spaces to consider creating places of learning appropriate for the twenty-first century.

"The learning places of the future will be beyond state of the art — they will be experimental and designed to demonstrate advanced teaching systems and methods.

"As part of the project, at least three new learning places will be developed at The University of Queensland, embodying new ways of learning, new ways to use space and next generation technology."

Wilson Architects has extensive experience in the specialised design of learning environments and libraries.

The $24 million Sir James Foots building, which opened last year, began as the home of the Sustainable Minerals Institute, but through the process of development the Collaborative Learning Centre was incorporated into the planning.

"These new learning environments directly respond to a pedagogical model for project-based teaching," he said.

"Collectively, with other unrelated functional uses, the Sir James Foots Building creates a unique juxtaposition of teaching, research, offices, learning, and work environments in the one facility."

Wilson Architects received four awards at the 2006 RAIA Queensland Architecture Awards, including the prestigious FDG Stanley Award for Public Building Architecture for the University’s art museum, The James and Mary Emelia Mayne Centre.

The Sir James Foots Building, which is a nationally significant teaching and learning space, and the Mayne Centre jointly received an Architecture Award for Public Buildings.
Media contact: Celestine Doyle, phone 0409 641 806