The University of Melbourne has revolutionised the teaching of the Bachelor of Arts, by offering students new ways of learning and seeing.

The stunning new Arts West building provides the University’s Arts Precinct with a dedicated, high-quality teaching and learning environment.

The innovative design of the new building will directly influence the way the Bachelor of Arts is taught with an emphasis on informal learning spaces and the use of space as a catalyst for the creation of learning communities.

Starting with the exterior, the visual impact is immediate with representations of images from the University’s rich Cultural Collections. These images are abstract, encouraging exploration and interpretation – like the process of enquiry and revelation which underpins learning and discovery.

The feature image on the north façade of the building is by Indigenous artist Tommy McRae documenting the history of contact and settler culture in Victoria.

This image, in combination with the other feature images, highlights that Indigenous knowledge systems and cultures are at the foundation of the Faculty of Arts’ intellectual traditions.

Professor Mark Considine, Dean, Faculty of Arts said the entire building makes an impression inside and out.

“The focus of Arts West on immersive, interactive and collaborative learning is unsurpassed in the Asia Pacific region. This is the new force in humanities and social sciences teaching and research,” he said

“The student experience is at the top of our priorities and underlines the high international standing of our programs and research strengths. It’s an innovative, amazing and fun place that opens our minds to the rich possibilities of an Arts education,” Professor Considine said.

Object based learning (OBL) is core to the teaching that provides ready prompts for stories, for research and explanation. The many displays and exhibitions are engrained in the everyday learning of arts. Curators have worked alongside staff to create cabinets of curiosities throughout the building, which build on learning outside the teaching and learning spaces. Object based learning is recognised internationally for its capacity to foster creative thinking, enable kinesthetic learning and provide experiential engagement with primary research methods and materials.

With its world class object based learning laboratories, integrated displays and digital studio, the Arts West development presents a significant opportunity for students to engage with the University’s archives and collections in new and exciting ways, enriching their experience and understanding of different cultures, eras and ideas.

University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis said that Melbourne Arts students and staff have a new building to call home. Arts West will transform the way humanities and social sciences are taught at the University.

“It will be a true student hub, with 24 new teaching and learning spaces, a digital studio and a façade that displays images from the University’s cultural collections,” he said.

“A key theme in the building’s design is connectivity – embodied in the principle of interdisciplinarity which informs teaching and research in the humanities at Melbourne, and the significant connection the Faculty of Arts has to our University and city,” Professor Davis said.

Still located at the heart of the traditional campus, the Arts West project has delivered a signature building for the faculty, one that is contemporary in look and feel, and will provide a unique campus-based learning experience for students.

Arts West is a sustainable building with a five star energy rating. Arts West was designed by the architectural teams of ARM Architecture & Architectus and built in partnership with Kane Constructions.