Monash Masterplan: Taking campus design into the future

Australia’s higher education sector is among the best in the world in the context of standards and reputation. But against the backdrop of increased competition at a national and international level, universities are under pressure to create blueprints for development. This extends across more on-campus services, improved education facilities and greater sustainability.

With that in mind, we spoke to Jocelyn Chiew, Manager – Campus Design, Quality and Planning at Monash University, who is involved in the progressive Monash Masterplan. She discussed how the Masterplan will deliver an integrated campus design to enhance the experience for students and staff, as well as anticipate changing pedagogies.

What are the objectives of the Monash master plan and how do they correspond to the challenges facing the university’s current design?

The Monash Masterplan establishes a vision and 20-year strategic framework for the physical transformation of its campuses. Aligned with organisational ambitions, the Masterplan seeks to effect high quality, curated, designed and enduring built environment outcomes.

This position acknowledges the cumulative impact that small works can have on the quality of the broader campus experience. As such, a key message of Masterplan communications has been that all physical work undertaken on the campuses contributes to, and ‘is part of the Monash Masterplan’.

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Primary walks, North West Precinct, Clayton Campus, courtesy of Monash University

The Monash Masterplan has assisted the development of a consistent approach to project planning, design and review. Further to this, it has provided a solid case for campus wide planning initiatives and improvements to be proactively undertaken.

In the context of adaptation, how will you respond to the changing ways of teaching and learning?

The Monash Masterplan provides an enduring framework and principles for campus development. Rather than locking in a singular vision for the campuses, it describes a range of potential development scenarios for new buildings, landscapes, connections and so on, to emerge in response to key requirements including future pedagogies.

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Green Chemical Futures, Clayton Campus, courtesy of Monash University

The Masterplan requires that development is designed to be robust, flexible, adaptive and high quality. New buildings and refurbishments need to respond to the principle of ‘long life, loose fit’, to ensure campus hardware does not limit organisational ambitions and activities now and in future.

What are the challenges to developing an integrated transport network for the university and how will you overcome them?

Monash University has introduced a number of initiatives to ensure efficient and accessible transport options are available at each of its campuses. Since the inception of the Monash Masterplan, we have delivered a suite of works to improve pedestrian and cycling accessibility and amenity, as well as introducing bus services that are now amongst the busiest in the state.

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Caulfield Campus Green, Caulfield Campus

As a largely suburban university, we have the additional challenge of continuing to provide private vehicle parking in consolidated forms, whilst undertaking an ambitious program of public realm-oriented works to pedestrianise and activate the campuses.

The university continues to liaise externally with government, services providers and stakeholders on integrated transport opportunities – including lobbying for a train station at Clayton campus.

How have you integrated international student retention into the future campus vision?

The Monash Masterplan recognises that students are more aware now of the environments they want to be in, than ever before in the past. Curated, considered environments are mandated by the Masterplan.

New building projects are innovative, sustainable and inclusive, often developed and delivered in partnership or with collaborators. Since its inception in 2011, the Masterplan has also continued to evolve.

Campus activation and retail has become a recent focus, aligned with new on-campus residential development. These initiatives seek to ensure the university’s spaces and programs offer the best possible range of campus life experiences – a trend that is also starting to see greater online coverage of Monash activities via social media.

Since its adoption in 2011, the Monash Masterplan has directly influenced the way in which campus works are planned, briefed, and realised at Monash University campuses. Changes to governance, decision making and project review processes have also resulted, ensuring the Masterplan is embedded at every level of the organisation.

Be sure to join Jocelyn Chiew at Campus Development 2015, where she will present an in-depth case study on the Monash Masterplan.

Download the brochure to see the full program or visit http://www.campusdevelopment.com.au to know more.

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