Copyright 2014


The Creative Industries Academy

by Jake Paterson



Brisbane University (BU) is a new tertiary institution seeking to design their first facility, The Creative Industries Academy (CIA). The academy will be the first of a series of developments for BU across South East Queensland, who have identified 4 key nodes (Brisbane, Toowoomba, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast). The goal of BU is to create an innovative, digitally driven creative facility which is highly desirable as an education and highler learning facility and also adds value to the urban context of Brisbane. The CIA will become a cultural and creative hub which is deeply integrated in the surrounding urban fabric both adding to it and drawing inspiration from it. The Academy will house Music, Tv, Dance, Drama and Performing Arts disciplines as well as a broad array of cross discipline collaborations with multi-disciplinary and performance and research facilities.

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Contextual + Climatic Response

The unique climate and culture of Brisbane and Australia cannot be ignored when designing within
its context. The transparency and permeability of the site and building itself ensure that it is firmly rooted in the local urban fabric. The facility will celebrate and enhance the cultural future of Brisbane, creating a rich cultural hub which is attractive to researchers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, artists, educators and students as well as the general public, tourists and local alike.

Climatic response is an imperative part of the design, incorporating a number of outdoor spaces, introducing greenery, natural lighting and ventilation into academic or creative spaces. Natural ventilation is used to passively cool the building whilst also providing fresh air to students and staff. The terraced podium also acts as an extension of the public piazza with the protruding lecture theatre forming the slope of “The Hill” for formal and informal performances and exhibitions.


The building aims to continue to high level of contextual integration established by The People’s Hub, working with existing contours to create a number of different entry points, allowing students and public alike to transverse the building. An elevated pedestrian overpass links the Academy with surrounding developments whilst maintaining vehicle access below.

Transparency – A Catalyst for Creativity

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The Creative Industries Academy is a highly collaborative campus, integrated into the greater People’s Hub envelope. The project aims to move away from a traditional private and public spaces, enclosed and open division of spaces, considering relationships instead in terms of public and educational spaces. External transparency creates a visual connection with the surrounding community, engaging pedestrians and sparking an interest in the surrounding community. This transparency provides the outside viewer with a unique glimpse, an insight into the inner workings of the creative process. Transparency is used to link public and educational spaces, blurring the line between the public and student realms.

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The staggering and overlapping of areas linked by a central atrium stimulates student interaction and provides visual insights into the inner workings of different creative disciplines. Exposure to disciplines and stimulus outside of their own exposes students to inspiration they might never imagine. This exposure helps create better rounded students with experience in a range of different areas.

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Adaptive Architecture

Students are increasingly demanding adaptive and collaborative work environments which support and facilitate the way in which they want to learn. Technology has drastically shaped the way in which knowledge is shared and will continue to do so at an exponential rate. It offers enormous potential in a collaborative learning environment and when integrated with the thriving social environment of the community hub the CIA offers a highly desirable space for students to inhabit.

In a collaborative joint venture betwenen Brisbane University and the Queensland University of Technology are researching and developing an adaptive creative studio system. With a focus on the potential for these spaces to be used for Performance, Exhibition and Education. A mechanically retractable seating system is being designed which is able to fold out of a wall panel and form versatile seating and staging configurations. In addition to this an adaptable acoustic ceiling system is being developed with hydraulic mounted acoustic ceiling panels which are able to respond to internal activities and provide the optimal acoustic setting for the prescribed activity. This system supports a range of different learning activities providing a dynamic learning environment which is able to adapt to students needs.



1:50 Section Model

The section model shows the intricate internal network of spaces, the large studio spaces with staggered levels form the framework for both private and collaborative work and study areas. The stair atrium links the academic levels, creating a strong vertical connection between disciplines, allowing for collaboration and the easy exchanging of ideas. The horizontal plane is largely public with a large amphitheatre, sunken into the site creates a highly visible public arena for exhibition as well as general day-to-day study.

The model shows a number of key interactions

  1. Between the ground floor amphitheatre and student centre above with tiered seating
  2. The drama studio forming a shelter over the laneway amphitheatre with access to podium terrace
  3. “The Hill” seating and performance and research studio operable wall performance space
  4. The visual connection between “The Hill” and dance studio with adaptable ceiling installation
  5. The dance studio skylight forming the open air collaborative work area




The People’s Hub

Masters Studio B1:2B - 2014
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© 2014

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