The Burwood Highway Frontage building at Melbourne’s Deakin University contains academic and high level research spaces for the expanding Faculty of Health. Designed by Woods Bagot, the building encourages collaboration and community-building, with flexibility built into the floorplan to accommodate academic work-zones that enable group and individual workspaces. With a design that steps away from traditional academic spaces towards modern, open-plan workplaces, Woods Bagot selected the Concept Click system of timber battens to clad the interior core and to conceal the lifts at the centre of the building. Spotted Gum was chosen for its neutral brown tones, exuding an earthy warmth that perfectly accentuates the heart of the building. The random pattern and variety of batten sizes is reminiscent of the uneven yet reassuring texture of a tree trunk, which confers the sense of being solid and deeply rooted.
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The natural, unmediated quality of this “uncontrolled” texture was achieved using the Concept Click system, which offers the flexibility to choose any sequence of batten width and depth and the freedom to arrange them in any sequence. The specially-profiled battens fit into spring steel clips, which are pre-indexed and riveted to a think aluminium track. Once the track is screwed to the wall, the battens are clipped in with a simple one-click manoeuvre. Open plan areas with collaborative spaces often pose problems with sound conduction and noise dispersion when large groups of people meet in discussion. The natural timber configuration at the heart of the Concept Click system facilitates noise reduction via the sound insulating properties of wood, enhancing the acoustic clarity of the space. The end result is a collaborative space that is welcoming to groups as well as individuals.