As the contemporary university shifts its focus from a hermetic campus environment to a broader engagement with its immediate context, modes of learning are changing in response. Dining, socialising, learning and working are all encouraged at XO Dining, which reconsiders the role in which communal dining spaces can operate within contemporary pedagogical frameworks. XO Dining reconsiders the manner in which communal dining spaces operate, by integrating informal learning with social dining. XO Dining supports multiple modes of occupation within a flexible space that can be easily adapted from individual and small group occupation into a single interior to host large scale events.
The client’s ambition for the project was that it be the ‘jewel in the crown’ of dining at the Clayton Campus. XO Dining needed to reconsider the manner in which communal dining spaces operate, by integrating informal learning with social dining. It also needed to support multiple modes of occupation within a flexible space that can be easily adapted to host large scale events. This included the ability to split the floor plan into defined zones of occupation, supported by a myriad of furniture typologies, catering for long or short visits by individuals, small study groups or academic meetings.
Prior to the refurbishment the space was a dark, under-utilised area that struggled to attract patronage and long term tenants. Primarily south facing with very limited access to natural light, it is also located below one of the main library spaces on campus, which required careful management during construction in order to avoid disruption to study and exam activities. It now serves as a magnet for students, staff and visitors within the campus and supports two thriving retail tenancies.
Previously the space had low ceilings and a deep floor plate, so careful consideration was given to upgrading the thermal performance and increasing daylight. Kosloff Architecture worked closely with Monash University’s Sustainability team to baseline the existing building environmental performance prior to commencement, and to
model the proposed design throughout its development, which enables us to quantify overall improvement including a 39% improvement in thermal performance (thermal performance and a 64% improvement in the average daylight factor throughout the space.
The design responds differently to its three different frontages; plaza to the south, laneway to the north and garden to the east. The existing hit-and-miss brick modernist façade of the Hargrave Andrews library above suggested strategies for activating the ground floor retail space through a play on brickwork on the floor and internal and
external walls. Links in internal and external materiality, generous glazing and large portions of openable façade seamlessly connect XO Dining with the surrounding campus. The variety of seating options makes the dining space entirely adaptable to host different functions without the need to remove, or bring in furniture. Services to the retail tenancy zone are set up in such a way to allow the size and number of these to vary to suit future needs.