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Gather and Stay

The recently completed Curtin Medical School and its landscape spaces (courtyard, entry and streetscape) provides a transformative new teaching facility with state­ of ­the ­art technology and modern teaching and learning spaces. The landscape interventions represent latest evidence based principles around student experience and learning outcomes while expressing the University’s commitment to innovation though the Greater Curtin Masterplan. Timber is used extensively throughout the external spaces of the project to provide an inviting natural surface that encourages people to gather and stay in the spaces as well as accentuating the sculptural forms within the public realm.

The elevated siting of Curtin Medical School Building, with steep grades falling away on two sides of the buildings entry, posed some challenging level changes that were thoughtfully addressed with landscape interventions – low walls, garden beds and sculptural timber and steel seating elements that created seating nodes that enliven the street edge with people and activity. A garden courtyard space on the southern side of the building accommodates a range of activities including learning pods with charging stations and free wifi access, sheltered gathering spaces for students and staff to hangout and meet friends, space for food van access. The design of the outdoor environment is a dynamic and inspirational place for people to gather and use, placing human experience at the forefront and combines it with high quality crafted landscape interventions that effortlessly flow and connect different functional areas of the building.

Architect/Designer: PLACE Laboratory

Engineer Name: Pritchard Francis Structural Engineering and Terpkos Engineering

Builder Name: Georgiou Group


The soffit to the shade canopy adjacent to Innovation Street consists of a series of hexagonal timber elements that hang from the ceiling structure above to create a dramatic overall composition. Laminated Cypress Durabeam was used to achieve the appropriate proportion and depth of timber required.

Blackbutt timber was selected for this space as it offered a lighter colour tone that would complement the coloured steel panels of the seating pods and contribute to the creation of a compelling visual aesthetic unique to the iconic Medical School Building. Timber provided ultimate flexibility for this project. 

The blackbutt features a natural durability rating allowing it to withstand the rigours of public use and an unforgiving external environment. Its natural qualities offer warmth and comfort to invite use and facilitate activation of the public realm. The lighter pale brown tones and natural hues compliment the architectural material palette allowing the seating to sit as an iconic addition to a landmark architectural building. The Durabeam GL10 laminated cypress was selected for its exceptional stability in exterior applications and its premium appearance finish in a highly prominent location.

Shade Canopy: The canopy's soffit features 65 x 140mm Durabeam GL10 cypress. The timber seating and cladding to fixed furniture pieces was 40mm thick Eastern States blackbutt in varying widths.

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