From Concept to Experience: A Built Manifesto for a School of Architecture

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The award-winning Abedian School of Architecture building at Bond University, Queensland, Australia was designed by Peter Cook and Gavin Robotham of CRAB Studio, in collaboration with Brit Andresen, as a concrete expression of architectural pedagogy in built form. Drawing upon their outstanding international experience of architectural education, the architects sought to create a rich learning environment. This resulted in a dramatically expressive building, comprising distinct, though highly interconnected spaces, that range from the grandeur of the “Forum” to the smaller “Scoop” exhibition spaces, defined by sculptural structural elements, connected by the central “Street” that bisects the building, between the open Atelier-like studio spaces and the equally open staff areas and seminar rooms, which interrelates all activities within the building. The inspiring spatial quality of the building is heightened by the tectonic integrity of the sculptural concrete forms, at the same time moderated and humanised, by the use of timber panelling and vibrant colours.
This paper investigates the visions and ideas that underpin the design of the building, the origins of these intentions, how they were developed through Peter Cook’s unique storyboard sketches and articulated in words, and then how they were translated into built form. Now that the building has been in active use for five years, the paper will also critically consider how the design of the building has impacted the design methodology and curriculum of the Abedian School of Architecture. Also, what discernible benefits can be attributed to the design, in terms of the students’ heightened creativity? Has the building fulfilled the expectations of its architects? And are there shortcomings and unsuccessful consequences, as result of focusing on and achieving other objectives?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment with AWARDs S.ARCH 2018
Place of PublicationErlangen
PublisherVerlag e.K.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-3-9818275-9-0
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
EventS.ARCH 2018: The 5th International Conference on Architecture & Built Environment: The Way It's Meant to Be! - Ai Pini Conference Hotel, Venice, Italy
Duration: 22 May 201824 May 2018
Conference number: 5th


ConferenceS.ARCH 2018: The 5th International Conference on Architecture & Built Environment
Internet address


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