We have all had the experience of being in a large building where every level looks the same. You find yourself asking someone passing by or you look for the closest lift to discover where you are. The use of colour through floor, wall and furniture finishes is a wonderful way to define space – and to help work out which floor level you are on!
The University of Wollongong Sciences Teaching Facility, designed by GBB, is a building where colour assists in way finding. This world class, undergraduate facility provides a practical laboratory experience and access to state of the art technology as well as facilities for team and problem based learning. The building design adopted a simple and consistent functional layout on each level to maximise the effectiveness of the structural system and vertical services.
The ground level includes a technology based teaching area to support the laboratories and link with team based write-up and meeting areas. On this floor level the student circulation and informal learning spaces are identified by the use of three feature colours.
The student circulation and informal learning spaces are grouped on the south side of the building and linked with an open stairwell. Carpet and laminates selected for their bright colours, visible through the transparent facade, create an identity for each level.
Each of the laboratory levels were defined with a splash of distinctive colour. Although the building layout is simple and functional, selected carpet tiles created and defined spaces that communicate engagement, collaboration, informal learning and also emphasise links to different levels and spaces. The project is featured in Interface Design Space, “What is the role of floors in way finding?”
Through the use of colour our objective was to stimulate, inspire and enrich the daily learning activities that take place within this place of collaboration, discovery and evolution.