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Institute of Koorie Education

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Project Description

Location: Deakin University, Waurn Ponds
Client: Institute of Koorie
Project Architect: Richard Durnion
Design Architect: Gregory Burgess

“We are delighted to be associated with Deakin University’s Institute of Koorie Education, winner of the prestigious 2013 Victorian Architecture Awards – Public Architecture (Alterations & Additions category,” says Ken Loh, a Umow Lai director who headed the firm’s project team.

“The project was not without its challenges, particularly regarding the constraints of space to enable us to provide high quality services into the existing building,” Ken adds. “The architect has done a wonderful job to create an imaginative and fictional layout with a design based around a north-south spine that provides an excellent solution to the old infrastructure to provide an inspiring suite of spaces.”

In the main auditorium, louvre windows are set high up. Umow Lai’s engineers designed them to be operated automatically to control the room temperature. The windows also flood the split-level space with light. As well as adding a host of new facilities, the updated design links the two extremities of the building, their entrances and mediating landscape.

In their citation, the 2013 Victorian Architects Award judges included the following comments: – ‘The Institute of Koorie Education is an outstanding project that reworks a previously grim semi industrial building on the Waurn Ponds campus and adds new facilities that create an inspiring suite of spaces that serve Victoria’s indigenous community.

‘The building is located at an important entry point to the campus and creates a welcoming, multifaceted and open education centre of a scale that humanises an otherwise monumental University campus environment. ‘The generosity of this circulation network, which is naturally lit from above, creates a feeling of openness and collaboration. Cultural traditions of greeting and ceremony are respected by creating both outdoor and indoor spaces that connect in a rational and poetic way.’

Umow Lai services included mechanical, electrical, hydraulics, fire protection and ICT. The consultancy worked closely with the project team that included project architect Richard Durnion, design architect Gregory Burgess, their client, Deakin University and main contractor, ISIS. The Institute of Koorie Education is located at Deakin University Waurn Ponds Campus near Geelong.