The Australia Institute of Management opened their new training facility in Canberra's City West Precinct. This part of the city is rapidly developing with the ANU Exchange, providing accommodation and entertainment for Australian National University students. As has happened around other major universities, hi-tech companies and commercial training providers are moving in to be close to the skills and clients the ANU attracts.
AIM's new training center has the "airport executive lounge" look now popular for education facilities (featured in many presentations at the 2011 Learning Commons Development and Design Forum). This has a muted color scheme, with polished stone, light colored wood.
AIM have inside the front door a reception counter, a library (with real books, as well as eBooks) and a kitchen counter. Opposite the reception desk is a large space which can be divided into two training rooms, by using movable walls.
One corridor has small four to eight seat tutorial rooms (with LCD panels for presentations). The rooms have large glass sliding doors on both sides, so that when not in use the space can be opened out. There is a glass wall to a courtyard beyond, which can be used for functions. As a result, it is possible to use the whole space for large functions, or divide it up for separate classes.
The layout looks well thought out. While the materials look high quality, they are also hard wearing. Unlike some university learning centers, there are no gimmicky circular learning pods, or cones of silence. Everything is rectangular to be easily divided, to make maximum use of space. An example of detail in design are that some of the bookshelves for the library are on wheels, allowing the library space to be opened up for functions.
Those considering what a learning center at a university, government department or corporation could look like, should drop in to see the new AIM Canberra offices.