The Faculty of Engineering and Technology at Melbourne Connect

Victoria, Australia

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The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology’s (FEIT) accommodation at Melbourne Connect is a transformative new workspace inspired by the faculty’s 2025 vision where industry engagement is one of its key pillars.

The faculty’s academics, researchers and professional staff are now located within a precinct developed to bring together academia, industry, government and community to develop innovative solutions to society’s biggest challenges.

This new accommodation is a 15,000m2 fit-out spanning 8 workspaces are a diverse mix of open plan spaces, offices, meeting spaces and open collaboration zones. The faculty’s executive floor features a boardroom, multi-function area and dining/kitchen area to support events.

There are also several specialist spaces which are integral to the faculty’s activities. The School of Computing and Information Systems Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab and Usability Labs are located on Level 5. With state-of-the art technology, these labs enable researchers to study issues arising from humans interacting with emerging technologies.

Located on the ground floor and basement is the Telstra Creator Space, a specialist space which seeks to support the research and entrepreneurial activities of start-ups and industry partners within Melbourne Connect and the wider precinct.

The fit-out of the Telstra Creator Space responds to the needs of the precinct and world class research, offering 3D printing, laser cutters, CNC machinery soldering irons and power tools. The facility will provide students, start-ups and industry with access to a world-leading fabrication and prototyping laboratory while also enabling joint partnerships to help commercialise research and innovation.

AECOM delivered a range of design and engineering services across the FEIT’s new spaces including building services, communications, audio visual, security, acoustics and structural engineering consultancy.

 Building services

Leveraging AECOM’s earlier roles in developing the functional brief for FEIT’s new facilities and refurbishments across several buildings in the Parkville campus, our building services team delivered the faculty’s new workspace and specialist spaces.

Working  closely with the interior space architects and the FEIT to create an environment that supports collaboration between academia and industry, AECOM’s building services design knits together a number of engineering approaches to support the creation of best practice academic office workspaces and unique spaces such as labs and computer rooms which are not usually typical to workspace accommodation.

For the specialist spaces, AECOM’s engineering response for air-conditioning, power, ICT, Audio Visual and security was customised to very specific user requirements. The specialist spaces required close coordination and development with relevant stakeholders and management of unique interfaces with base building systems. Our team supported the coordination of these technical interfaces within the agreements established between the University and development partner.

Acoustics

The acoustic design of the FEIT’s new workspaces was guided by many earlier projects AECOM had undertaken for the faculty at the Parkville campus, during which our acoustics team worked intimately with the University to understand the technical and functional requirements of its academic staff. This knowledge was fundamental for the design philosophy of the new FEIT workspace and used to inform the key acoustic design principles of the fit-out.

By attaining information such as acoustic privacy requirements for the varying uses of the workspace, AECOM’s acoustic designers were able to collaborate with the interior architect to create dedicated zones for noisy (active) and quiet (focus) areas. We also engineered effective noise and vibration systems for the exposed building services; sound absorbing materials to suppress noise and control echo; sound isolating wall and ceiling systems; all performing to the highest standard of sustainable building acoustics design.

Specialist spaces such as the Telstra Creator Space and the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Usability laboratory also comprise extensive and precise acoustic treatment owing to the potentially high-noise generating activity that occurs within the spaces.

 Outcomes and Value

  • Integrated fit-out design and delivery of academic workspaces with the unique inclusion of specialist spaces, implemented through the University’s precedent development partner model of procurement.
  • Enabling the integration of the Telstra Creator Space into the base building which was developed for commercial/office use. The ability to develop prototypes and access to machines, tools and 3D printers reinforces the uniqueness of the precinct and its focus on innovation.
  • HCI and Useability Lab design uniquely positioned within FEIT’s workspace accommodation and accommodating evolving future research needs through building services design that has encapsulated the ability for some level of reconfiguration within the labs.