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Piazza Dell’Ufficio

By

  • Branch Studio Architects

Description

The Piazza Dell’Ufficio is a re-imagining of the former Caroline Chisholm College`s Executive Administration offices and Student Welfare Department.
Our pedagogical objective was to create a space, which reduced the visual barriers between staff & student interactions particularly in the area of Student welfare. Given this objective, we derived the Idea of rationalising the space as a central public Piazza linked by two primary monuments 1. Clock Tower and 2. Public Forum.
Visual cohesion is created throughout using Cardboard tubes [$2.50 each], to sculpt the interior spaces. They can be easily replaced if damaged, are 100% recycled and biodegradable.

Key Features

1

Our pedagogical objective was to create a space, which reduced the visual barriers between staff & student interactions particularly in the area of Student welfare. Given this objective, we derived the conceptual Idea of rationalising the space as a central public Piazza linked by two primary monuments 1. Clock Tower and 2. Public Forum.

In order to achieve this space within a tight budget – Cardboard tubes at [$2.50 each] have been used to sculpt the interior spaces. They can be easily replaced if damaged, are 100% recycled and biodegradable.

2

Formally the existing space was a dark rabbit-warren of small disproportional office spaces and a meeting room with very little to no natural light.

The transformation of the project has created a light-filled, central public Piazza which is now a heavily-used primary meeting point for student and staff interactions.

It is also used-heavily as a forum for the school principal and various other hierarchy staff to address staff in numbers.

The central narrative of the Piazza has created a positive talking point and new found relationship to the students and staff alike.

3

Formally the existing space was a dark rabbit-warren of small disproportional office spaces and a meeting room with very little to no natural light. Highly-inefficient and not susceptible to any form of good or flexible working environment, the mostly blue painted, late 1970`s, broken, cream venetian blind screened block provided little to no humanistic interaction for its users.

The light-filled, central public Piazza is now a heavily-used primary meeting point for student and staff interactions. It also acts as a forum for the school principal and various other hierarchy staff to address staff in numbers.

4

Purposeful visual cohesion is created throughout using a very cost effective partition methodology of Cardboard tubes [$2.50 each], to sculpt the interior spaces. The tubes both individually and in mass are used to create a continuous visual curve & warmth to soften the interior spaces throughout. Each cardboard tube has been designed in detail – to be able to be easily replaced if damaged. The tubes are are also 100% recycled and biodegradable. The project uses design innovation to achieve something special and typically expensive [curves] from an extremely modest budget – $2363 m2 AUD.

5

Light is an important element of the project as it creates an extension of the internal formal curvature. It also creates visual and contextual narrative referencing the subdued light cast underneath the porticos and formal archways used in 18th century classical architecture.
A profiled dropped ceiling extends the curvature of the space in section and creates more intimate spaces at primary ‘meeting’ points – where dome-like Coffers occur in the Clock Tower & Public Forum.
Classically derived archways create a formal entry into the space from an existing school corridor and also into the three office wings from the primary Piazza.

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