James Cook University, Education Central
Housing both Student Services and the School of Education, JCU Education Central is the new front door to the university. It follows a student-led / staff-assisted model of service that was developed specifically for JCU. Based on the latest retail service models, students have a choice of service points where staff move around the space providing help as needed. The building also contains large-scale active learning spaces and social learning areas, encouraging peer-to-peer learning and extended learning beyond the traditional classroom environment.
JCU identified a need to upgrade its Townsville Campus to provide improved student services and to support contemporary methods of teaching and learning. In so doing, it had the opportunity to create an environment that better reflected JCU’s tropical identity, and to build a stronger sense of community among the staff and students.
The first step was a comprehensive research program including staff and student interviews, and area and use studies of the whole campus. The research covered all areas of the student experience. These insights became the basis of a plan to revitalise the campus with the JCU Education Central at its heart.
A double-height circulation hub at the northern edge of the building enables visual connections between all internal and external circulation routes to create a welcoming atmosphere. Continuous undercover connections link the buildings and join the student retail, student service, teaching and administrative functions in one harmonious environment. These new connections create opportunities for spontaneous interaction between students and staff, as well as prolonging the useful life of adjacent existing buildings.
Teaching spaces provided in the new building diverge from traditional didactic learning spaces in favour of active learning spaces, where the broad range of learning modalities (didactic, collaborative, discursive and reflective) can be facilitated in the flexible spaces. Students can move between structured classes, group rooms and informal open group study.
Wilson Architects with Architects North
Hamilton Wilson, Shaun Purcell
2014 CEFPI International Winner – Project of Distinction
2014 CEFPI Winner Category 2 - New Construction Major Facility
2014 AIA Queensland Award for Public Architecture
2014 AIA North Queensland Awards - Walter & Oliver Tunbridge Award for Building of the Year