Photography Studies College

Photography Studies College

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Designed by McIldowie Partners, the Photography Studies College is a tertiary education institute situated in South Melbourne.

The existing warehouse was purchased by McIldowie Partners’ client in 2019 when it became apparent that the College had outgrown its previous dwelling on City Road, South Bank.

Working in close collaboration with the director and staff at PSC gave the McIldowie Partners’ design team the opportunity to understand the day-to-day dynamics of the College, its educational philosophy, and the technological requirements of a photographic studio.

They quickly understood that the layout of their previous building was disjointed which had led to a dispersed sense of community along with teaching inefficiencies.

This information was the driving force behind the curved internal corridors that sweep around the central ‘hub’ and seamlessly connect the ground floor learning spaces.

The soft and crisp white plastered walls create a beautiful juxtaposition against the raw and exposed elements of the warehouse envelope.

Flexible learning environments were initiated by using sliding doors, bi-folding partitions, and lightweight curtains.

This in turn enabled the College to facilitate small collaborative classwork alongside large-scale seminars.

The building is divided into two sectors; student learning on the ground level and staff administration on the first floor.

The hub is the central ‘island’ of the ground floor, and upon entrance, is the first point of landing after the reception.

The solid walls of the hub have been softened through a curved and concave façade that opens into a library and intimate meeting room.

These areas stimulate a sense of creativity and playfulness and encourage an interactive environment through the introduction of bold and vibrant colours, delivering a striking contrast to the raw and neutral elements of the industrial surroundings.

An important requirement of McIldowie Partners’ design was to increase the influx of natural light and ventilation.

During one of their initial meetings, the Director of the College mentioned that the industrial charm of the sawtooth roof was what first caught her eye when looking to purchase the site.

It was quickly agreed that exposing the sawtooth structure was an architectural design feature that was imperative to the overall success of the project.

This decision however brought forth challenges with ESD regulations leading to critical energy modeling from the project engineers.

The solution required extensive thermal insulation and double glazing to ensure the building met sustainable energy requirements.

Ultimately, the success of the project lies with those who inhabit the space who see it as a stimulating environment of creativity, learning, and development.

Project Details

Project Size – 2,000 m2
Site Area – 2,000 m2
Building Levels – 2
Completion Date – 2020

Project Team


McIldowie Partners

McIldowie Partners is a Melbourne-based, medium-sized architectural and interior design practice with extensive history and experience in a wide range of education, hospitality, corporate, and commercial projects.

They have a commitment to developing innovative, unique solutions for individual clients and projects which has resulted in creating a diverse body of work across multiple sectors in communities throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Services Engineering


Erbas is a well-established and highly-regarded firm of engineers for building services.

Interior Design

Emma Louise Interiors

Emma Louise Interiors is a boutique Melbourne-based design studio.


Skilcon was established in 2015 with the vision of providing construction and project management services within the domestic and commercial sectors.


Dave Kulesza

Dave is based in Richmond, Melbourne, and is a recognized architecture, interiors, and lifestyle photographer. He recently published an interesting photo book that provides a visual perspective of architecture and design in North Korea’s capital city Pyongyang.

Photo Gallery

Click on a thumbnail image to enlarge.

Design © 2022 McIldowie Partners. All Rights Reserved.| Images © 2022 David Kulesza. All Rights Reserved.

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