Monash University Chancellery

Monash’s new Chancellery will be a ceremonial front door for the Clayton Campus: an emblematic building that communicates the University’s brand and identity for the 21st Century.

What’s a chancellery?

Traditionally, university chancelleries have been workplaces for principal administrators. Monash’s also contains offices for the chancellor and vice chancellor and their staff.

The new Chancellery will be a place for senior decision makers to meet distinguished visitors, industry partners and prospective staff.

 

 

 

ARM and our joint venture partners at Geyer felt that a chancellery in 21st Century Melbourne should also be a portal between the university and the surrounding community.

Architecturally, it must make a considered first impression.

The façade

The rectangular building has a glass façade wrapped in a shading screen, or brise soleil, that controls direct sunlight onto the glass. This comes from the tradition of mid-20th Century corporate headquarters, which tended to have glass external walls shaded by elaborated lattices or grids. We are contemporising the idea using digital design techniques and new materials.

The Chancellery brise soleil is made in modules, some of them simple rectangular panels and others more complicated folded shapes. The panels look different from different angles. They remind you of Escher tessellations.

Monash’s Clayton Campus is rich in significant 20th-Century architecture. The new Chancellery will be next to the round Religious Centre designed by John Mockridge. Immediately to its east is the heritage 1971 Robert Blackwood Hall by architect Sir Roy Grounds, who also designed Hamer Hall. The Forum is an existing formal landscape.

“The Chancellery needs to be a fundamental symbol of the family that staff and students have joined when they first enrolled, started work, partnered, or associated with Monash.”

—Ian McDougall

October 2018: construction begins. Notice the landmark round Monash Religious Centre in the background.

At ground level, below the brise soleil, is a series of columns that creates a covered walkway open to the whole university community. It’s a welcoming contemporary version of the traditional university cloister. (Our University of Melbourne Arts West also has a contemporary cloister.)

We’re proposing that rather than being uniform, selected columns will feature a different commissioned art work. There will be up to 15 bespoke columns each designed by a different artist.

 

The cloister creates a place to gather, a promenade that displays art representing the intellect and values of Monash University. It invites people in, making the Chancellery approachable and welcoming.

It’s as much a landscape element as part of the building.

The western wall has abstract-shaped grottos to sit in. Each looks as if it’s been formed by the base of a giant column pressed into the wall.