McGlashan Everist is an award-winning architecture practice with offices in Melbourne and Geelong, with an established reputation for quality, service and design excellence in the Education Sector. The Geelong office has been working on projects with Deakin for close to 40 years. We spoke to Max Gurrie (ret.) and Geoff Saunders from McGlashan Everist’s Geelong office about their experience with Deakin and the creation of the Management Centre as it was known on it’s creation in 1993.

Discuss with us the initial brief from the University?

The brief was to design the building to be made to be interactive. At the time, 1992, to conduct successful conferences and residencies, the philosophy was for intimate accommodation rooms to promote you to spend more time within the conference and the break out areas. Designed like a village on the hill (hence the tower design) like a beacon so you could see the centre from the below campus. We also wanted guests to always be able to have a sense of the outside when you were inside the building. The ponds too, were designed as catchment areas, to prevent water flow and potential subsequent flooding of the rest of campus. The real Waurn Ponds were originally located where the old Princes highway was (now Waurn Ponds drive).

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What sort of response did the centre get initially on it’s opening in 1993?

It was certainly popular! It led to us obtain more work at Deakin and other educational institutions. Our work at Deakin has spanned 40 years, designing numerous buildings such as the Sally Walker building and Costa Hall at the Waterfront Campus. The Dennys Lascelles wool store project in particular for Deakin was a very sustainable and fulfilling job.

Considering that next year marks the 25th year of Waurn Ponds Estate, what are your reflections on the centre now?

It’s fulfilling that buildings we design have longevity within the University Sector. Within the shell, soft furnishings and technology updates but the design elements, intent and framework of the centre has stood the test of time.