MPH Architects have created a complete new identity for the South Australian TAFE. Located at Tonsley Park in Adelaide the Sustainable Industries Education Centre (SIEC) brings together five aging campuses within a former Mitsubishi Assembly plant. The Tonsley Tafe project was initiated by the Government of South Australia’s objective to reduce operating costs of the TafeSA’s Building and Construction Trade Training programs.
The new state of the art facility is one of the most innovative in Australia, transforming an old car factory into a complex energy efficient training facility. 90% of the existing steel structure has been retained and a new flexible and adaptable education facility created that provides opportunities for innovation and display of the Tafe student activities.
The space planning approach takes inspiration from the planning of a city block. The use of a 24x12m grid and south facing saw tooth roof with sky lights set the proportion and location of the internal buildings, allowing harmonious integration of old with new.
The main facade treatment comprises a ‘floating black ribbon’ of metal cladding and fins to boldly define Tafe within the MAB building. The ground floor features a continuous glazed facade that showcases workshop activities to the community and lets plenty of natural light in. The glazing detail is carried through in the interior space planning.
The interior material palette has been minimized to enhance the raw industrial character of the building. Colour is limited to way finding and service and safety nodes, enhancing circulation legibility.
The original steel structure including paint finish is retained, contrasting with the inorganic zinc silicate finish that highlights the new steelwork required for structural stiffening and new building elements.
Timber screen facades with their warmth of colour clearly define the new buildings ‘inserted’ within the facility and contrast with the industrial material palette of the base facility.
The resulting internal layout successfully provides a variety of spaces for student centred learning and the effective use of glazed partitioning throughout has maximized the showcasing of Tafe activities to the public, and provided visual and physical connections to the existing steel structure as well as ensuring daylighting opportunities are realized in all settings.
Design: MPH Architects
Location: Tonsley Park, South Australia
Cost: $130 million
Client: TAFE SA
Completion: December 2013
Team: Tony Materne (Project & Design Director), Peter Hoare (Technical Director), Carlo Pennino (Facility planner), Tonia Mudie (Interior Design Leader)
Photography: David Sievers