PERTH – Edith Cowan University is home to a new student services centre inspired by the endangered Carnaby cockatoo in Western Australia. Given the name Ngoolark by the local Aboriginal people, the building takes flight with its striking architecture, designed by Australian architecture firm JCY. Rich in conceptual cultural references, the building provides quality student services for the campus community.
With a predominant sculptural form, the building is far from subtle. Its shiny gold façade stands out as a landmark within the ECU campus, projecting a strong identity. The gold perforated aluminium covering creates a sun-shading skin, a form which is a direct reflection of the folds and patterns of the chest feathers on a Carnaby cockatoo. Overlapping patterns of the gold anodised panels reflect sunlight making the building shimmer and change colour throughout the day.
Ngoolark Student Services is an interactive and integrated space, situated around pre-existing campus buildings in a central location. The architecture emphasises the importance of interconnecting circulation with direct accessibility provided to the surrounding library and lecture theatres. Consisting of five storeys, the building accommodates a marketplace, a podium and offices, as well as additional open-plan flexible workplaces. With future university growth rates taken into consideration, the workplaces have been designed in a manner where they can be transformed into classrooms if necessary. The ground floor – dedicated to all public services – is envisioned as the thriving student hub, whilst moving upwards through the building, the spaces become more private and dedicated to corporate structure and office research. The Ngoolark student services is creating new physical connections between campus spaces and developing a more meaningful relationship with the Noongar community through its meaningful architecture.