The Monash Clayton Sports Building holds a unique position on campus for the range of users that it caters for. Beyond simply being an area for staff and students, this site frequently plays host to visiting sports teams, local community members using the pool or gyms, parents of children participating in sports (and siblings) as well as a variety of community events revolving around the recreation facilities. The sport building for many is the only facet of Monash that they see and interact with. For these reasons considering the site as the main community interface of the campus is not an exaggeration and the important social role of the site cannot be overstated.

Monash Sport – Clayton Campus

The key goals of this project involve creating a clearer connection between the campus and the ovals, providing greater accessibility to the site with a new major entry located near to the carpark and improving the permeability of the existing spaces with clear lines of sight through and across the site for simplified wayfinding.
These changes all sit within the context of the goals of the Zero+ studio, aiming to turn buildings from consumers to producers and considering what additional factors a building can provide (This was the ‘+’ in the Zero+ studio brief.) This site seeks to combine the harvesting of natural resources such as solar energy and rainwater with improved social amenity.

Monash Sport Clayton – Social Spine

The single largest modification to the site is the new saw-toothed roof housing a new north-facing solar panel array as well expanded rainwater harvesting capabilities. This has been paired with south-facing skylights to provide a smooth and consistent level of natural illumination inside the space throughout the day.
Key new areas are the rear decking, which overlooks the oval, playing host to a garden wall as well as partially covered seating area. Additionally, a mixed-use space on one of the northern roofs of the site allows for communal activities to be held ad-hoc, leveraging the unique view the site offers across the ovals and of the greenery beyond.

Perspective Section Through Social Spine

Looking through the Social Spine, a number of the existing areas have been removed and their programmes shifted into this communal space to encourage participation. For example, the games space with pool tables from the existing site as been reinvented as an upper level connecting to a café as well as activities such as activities such as table tennis, aerobics or yoga being held along the ground floor of this spine, encouraging passers-by to engage with these informal activities. Dedicated areas for running these activities as private classes are still provided on site (in the mixed-use spaces closest to Scenic Blvd.) should groups wish to engage in more private spaces.

Social Spine Internal – Ground Level

The social spine takes the hyper-compartmentalised spaces of the existing structure and moves these programmes into public space. Encouraging people to participate in classes as games as they move through the site. The existing structural system has been left as untouched as possible, with the existing steels now exposed. New areas have been constructed in CLT, with timber preferable to other materials for its performance as well as low embodied carbon. Materials from the demolition of the existing internal partitions have also been reused to further reduce the carbon footprint of the project, one example of this is the polishing of the existing slab rather than adding new flooring finishes.

Social Spine Internal – Upper Level

The upper level offers a coffee shop (see section) and pool tables area to encourage informal participation and socialisation for the users of the space. This level also provides access to a new mixed-use outdoor space which will offer a variety of activities for passers-by as attract participation through the large full height windows creating a visual connection to these spaces.
The stairs have been located centrally and access to each area of this new space is designed to be as intuitive as possible, with clear lines of sight, designed to improve the ease of use of the site for new visitors.

Monash Sport Clayton – New Entry

A key intervention in this project was to create a new entry point for the Monash Sport Building which more strongly connects the site to the surrounding campus providing greater recognisability for the site and offering a clear connection to the various campus transportation network options.
This entry point will provide an elevated platform housing social spaces and a café, a covered bike storage and maintenance locker as well as seating options and entry points to the sport building at both the ground and upper levels.
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