Less than 12 months after its inception, Morwell TAFE’s new learning facility was being enjoyed by students thanks to the modular building techniques utilised in its construction.
Project Name: Morwell Tafe
Studio Name: GHD Woodhead
Location: Victoria, Australia
Photography: Sherise Fleming
Completion date: 2020
Building levels: 2
The two-storey, purpose-built Health and Early Childhood Training Centre (HECTC) accommodates nursing, allied health, individual support and early childhood education and care, along with specialised nursing and individual support labs, specialised early childhood learning spaces and general-purpose classrooms – sectors all catered to local job demands.
With architecture by GHDWoodhead, the building was constructed by Modscape in its Brooklyn factory over a short 12-week period, before being installed to site and ready for occupation only weeks later.
The HECTC facility forms a gateway to the Morwell campus with a defined, angular aesthetic, aptly clad in Colourbond Monument Spandeck. Full-height windows connect the inside and out, and triangular metal sunshades run vertically along the second storey, enhancing passive design principles while teaming with the building’s angular motif. The shape and proportion of both levels of the building also follow those of the golden rectangle – a rectangle with sides equal to the 1:1.61 ratio – iconic proportions that are seen in buildings such as the Notre Dame cathedral, the TajMahal and many of the built works of Ancient Greece.
The ground floor is comprised of three general purpose classrooms and an early learning facility, separated by operable walls for flexible and dynamic teaching possibilities, in addition to two shared staff offices, a staff room with kitchen and amenities. Meanwhile, the first level, which can be accessed via stairs or a lift, features two more classrooms, each flanked by an aged care ward in which students can practise theory hands-on in a realistic work environment. Operable walls divide the spaces, while a meeting room and common learning room provide further opportunity for group collaboration.
The brief for Morwell TAFE specified that the new building not “appear modular”. The completely bespoke design caters to this aesthetic, while a concrete plinth base firmly grounds the modular structure and adds to the strength of permanency to site. In addition, durable, high-quality materials elevate the structure and unify the building with other TAFE Gippsland facilities.
The HECTC building is stage one of a dual-stage delivery for the education precinct, with a second stage building, the Trade and Skills Centre, expected in late 2021.