RMIT Building 9

Rooftop Extension

Client: RMIT University
Status: Complete 2009

Building 9 is prominently located in the heart of the RMIT University city campus on the corner of Bowen and Franklin Streets. It was constructed as the Radio & Electrical Trades School in two stages from 1937 to 1942 and is on the Victorian Heritage Register. Building 9 forms part of a group of contiguous buildings designed by Percy Everett.

The project involves adding two new floors (levels 4 & 5) as well as providing an overall infrastructure master plan for the whole building. The interior of the building has been treated as “loose-fit” to maximise long term flexibility as the new home for the School of Applied Media & Communication.

The new rooftop extension has been conceived as a companion building, related but of another generation. The new façade hovers over the base building as continuous ribbons of concertinaed spandrels separated by horizontal strip windows.

The interior to levels 4 & 5 provides accommodation for staff and graduate students along with support facilities. It contains a mixture of collaborative work spaces, meeting rooms, individual offices and break-out social spaces. Services have been exposed and generally there are no ceilings so the interior space feels voluminous and dynamic.

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“This adept, intelligent and highly resolved addition is an outstanding example of a heritage building’s evolution to meet the practicalities of contemporary (academic) life. The significance of the two-storey addition is especially pronounced in the language of the exterior, which sympathetically reinterprets the spirit of the original.”

AIA John George Knight Award Jury, 2010

“The Building 9 rooftop extension extends the purpose of this notable building in a masterful and sensitive way.”

AIA Public Architecture Award Jury, 2010