This building was originally a rubber and tyre warehouse built in the early 1950s, and later the showroom section was used for the RMIT Union dental service. In this latest recycling as studio and workshop spaces for the School of Architecture and Design, we sought to make use of and underline the straightforward urban qualities of this street-level corner building as an economical space for student use and a direct interface with the public realm.
Through collaboration with staff from the architecture program, a plan was devised where the allocated space of four studios and corridor was rearranged into four teaching alcoves of the smallest functional area, so that a non-specific (and non-bookable) space could be opened up. This configuration allows informal work to carry on while classes are in progress, and for both students and staff to move freely between different modes of working and learning. The spaces have something of the character of a studio: a work environment that is difficult to come by in the university. It is not like a classroom, or an office, or a computer lab, or a workshop, or a gallery – but able to be all of these at once.