Traditional universities are changing to adapt to the fast-paced, innovative nature of modern workplaces.
Monash Business School in Melbourne recently overhauled its design to reflect a corporate environment in the hope it would benefit postgraduate and MBA students aiming for executive-level roles.
The university worked with NH Architecture to redevelop its 90s style office building, increasing connectivity and transparency alongside its teaching methodology and educational agenda.
Features of the new design include flexible screens and glass panes similar to open offices and floor plans, staircases which act as informal meeting spaces, and a student lounge where staff and students use the same space so they can mingle and easily establish connections with business leaders and visitors.
Flexible spaces and moveable furniture have also been incorporated to provide a dynamic teaching and learning environment, as well as allow presentations to be given spontaneously from anywhere in a room – resembling pitches given in business meetings.
From the exterior, the building could also reflect the look of an office block.
The Deputy Dean of Leadership and Executive Education, Professor Richard Hall, says the new design is important for students who aspire to have a corporate career to experience this at university, improving overall education outcomes.
“We don’t just want the learning environment to be hidden behind closed doors and walls. We want it to be visible – it’s a two-way thing,” said Hall.
“Quality and expensive programs need a quality environment, which makes redevelopments and buildings like this so important.
“We were surprised at how the interior glass and the openness of the teaching spaces hasn’t been distracting but has instead been stimulating.
“The MBA student lounge promotes interaction and networking between cohorts and the shared space attracts students to use the space outside of class time.”
In what could a new look for business-focused universities in the future, Monash’s new building shows how workplace design can be melded to fit an education setting.
The project by NH Architecture has recently been shortlisted for a Victorian Architecture Award.
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