Monash University Learning and Teaching BuildingClayton, VIC

The Learning and Teaching Building at Monash University shows how fall protection can provide safety, without compromising on aesthetics.

The project brief required us to design, engineer and install the vertical cable system for the main atrium.

This involved more than 1,500 cables made from 5mm stainless-steel wire rope, installed across three levels.

Background on the Learning and Teaching Building

Prior to the project, Monash researched how to achieve an advanced space that reflects modern learning approaches and styles. They began by examining all aspects of the learning experience in detail – including room size, table shape, ease of access and more.

This led to the development of a blend of learning spaces within the one building that facilitate engagement and collaboration. John Wardle Architects describes the building as a blend of innovative formal learning spaces complimented by informal learning hubs, that offers a “sense of township within a single building”.

Features of the building include 360-degree whiteboard/glass-board walls, a map table to invite student collaboration, and the ability for teachers to present from the whiteboard at multiple locations. According to Monash, the building can accommodate thousands of students and will be the home of advanced learning and teaching practices at the university.

Project details and challenges

The steel cables installed by Tensile provide a barrier to the atrium that is fully load-rated and non-climbable. They are also transparent, creating a sleek and minimal appearance while allowing in natural light and contributing to the airy feel of the space.

All the fittings and fixing details of the installation are concealed from view – providing a very clean look. While this was hard to achieve and presented some challenges, the results made it worthwhile in the end.

To achieve the desired result, the project required a very high level of coordination between builder Multiplex, Tensile and the other trades involved.

You could say of this project that “God is in the details”. This is a quote attributed to the famous German architect Mies van der Rohe – which essentially means that details are very important and should be thoroughly committed to!

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