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Monash Sound Shell, Clayton

A place for performance – music, dance, theatre and film – the sound shell acts as a catalyst to enliven the entire surrounding precinct.

  • Finalist – Standalone Structure Category

    National Timber Design Awards 2015

    Design Response

    The Sound Shell is a place for performance – music, dance, theatre, speeches, group exercises and motion pictures. Performance requires actor(s) and audience. For enhanced visibility and to mark a separation between actor and audience, the actor is elevated on a platform. The audience remains on the ground plane. To further mark the special qualities of the performance space (and to shelter the actor) we give the platform a roof. To facilitate access from ground to stage we add a ramp. And we introduce a thick wall at the rear of the stage housing services and equipment to aid the performers.

    We keep the whole ensemble abstract and simple to encourage creative use of the structure when there is no formal performance. At these moments, the structure is occupied by individuals and small groups for work, relaxation, conversation, barbecues, parties, post-graduation photographs and games. In this way the structure becomes a place of concentrated campus culture.

    The Lemon Scented Lawn is a fine example of a campus garden space. Like The Lawn at Jefferson’s University of Virginia, it can be used for both active and passive recreational activities. The space is bounded by buildings of disparate architecture and populated with copses of magnificent lemon scented and mottlecah gums. Under their canopy is a green carpet crossed by paths. The Sound Shell will be a third larger element in the composition and will offer a strong focus for the space. The existing timber ‘pods’ dispersed through the space, also abstract forms, provide places for occupation by small groups and individuals at a smaller scale than the Sound Shell. The treatment of the surface of the structure will allude to these.

  • Sound Shell Design Specifications

    Services Provided

    • Full Services


    Workshop Architecture


    Project Director: Tony Styant-Browne
    Project Team: Tony Styant-Browne, James Staughton, Ming Lie
    Photographer: John Gollings, Jeremy Weihrauch


    Monash University

    Date completed

    December 2013


    Clayton, Victoria

  • Big notes at Monash Uni’s small sound shell, Stephen Crafti, The Age, 7 November 2015

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