“I think of a school as an environment of spaces where it is good to learn. Schools began with a man under a tree who did not know he was a teacher discussing his realisation with a few who did not know they were students. The students reflected in what was exchanged and how good it was to be in the presence of this man. They aspired that their sons also listen to such a man. Soon spaces were erected and the first school became… The entire system of schools that followed from the beginning would not have been possible if the beginning were not in harmony with the nature of man. It can also be said that the existence will of school was there even before the circumstances of the man under a tree.”

Louis Kahn
Form and Design, Architectural Design April (London Wiley,1961)




Edith Cowan University

The new buildings are sited on a gentle rise, set amongst bushland and eucalyptus. On one side are the broad lanes of Grand Drive leading into the new City of Joondalup, and on the other a central pathway that leads down to a modest lake and peaceful green lawns. The forms, materials and character of the new buildings have been drawn directly from this landscape.

The Chancellery buildings are made like two giant plants, their branches fanning out and rising up from the ground to almost touch at the centre. These two rising forms frame a vista down to the lake and open wide toward Grand Drive in a gesture of welcoming and invitation to the city. This curving form is assembled from Jarrah struts that begin almost parallel with the ground and gradually fold up and out, framing a new ceremonial open space and reaching up towards the sky.

The organic forms of the architecture have been developed to appear to rise almost ‘naturally’ out of the landscape itself and to represent and embody the values and aspirations of the University. Equally important is the transformation of this site into an urban focus and catalyst for a dense future campus that defines a series of symbolic, open, public spaces, of democratic nature.