Griffith G11 Learning Common by ThomsonAdsett

The expressive, porous annexe follows the geometry of the site and reconnects two wings of the old building.

GRIFFITH – Six architects were invited by Griffith University to propose an extension to an ageing library on their Gold Coast Campus. Eventually, ThomsonAdsett was chosen to proceed with a plan that added outdoor, in-between learning spaces, as well as resolving circulation within the old building.

Instead of following the brief – which asked for an addition of a three and five storey addition at either end of the L-shaped library – the architects chose to close the loop with a more spectacular elongated wing that connects the two ends together. ‘Distinctive form has been derived through the site’s geometry and a vision for spaces not found elsewhere on campus. It is intentionally bold, dynamic, progressive, colourful, permeable and welcoming,’ says Graham Legerton, the lead architect and architectural director of ThomsonAdsett’s Brisbane office.

In-between spaces are created by carving the extension to create shortcuts to the courtyard –  called ‘the Aviary’ by the architects – while taking full advantage of Gold Coast’s sunny, warm climate by making pleasant, covered, informal social places underneath. The horizontal louvers on the façade protect the indoor learning facilities from excessive heat gains and even here the architects have managed to carve out a large loggia for students and staff.

‘Creating mere buildings is not acceptable,’ Legerton insists. ‘We see this as one composition, where we strive to create architecture that celebrates the needs of people and respects and enhances the place.’

Photos Angus Martin

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