15 May 2024

UNSW Canberra revises designs for its city campus project after feedback

| Ian Bushnell
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render of development

The revised building designs for UNSW Canberra’s stage 1 of its proposed city campus looking from Constitution Avenue. Images: Hassell.

UNSW Canberra has revamped the design of one of the first two buildings to be built in stage 1 of its $1 billion city campus project after considering community feedback from its initial consultation.

The proposed Building 1 on the corner of Coranderrk Street and Constitution Avenue will now have a smooth and rounded shape instead of mostly sheer vertical walls.

Project architect Hassell has also updated the façade to Building 2 on Constitution Avenue, and both buildings will now step back from the streetfront on the upper floor.

Building 1 will also include a large internal atrium and have slightly less floor space.

Both buildings remain where they were sited, and while the landscape design principles remain largely unchanged, more plantings are now proposed.

The six-storey building height remains the same, as does the proposed vehicle access.

UNSW has now opened a second consultation on the revised plans.

render of development

The revised building design will offer a softer presentation on the prominent corner of Constitution Avenue and Corranderrk Street.

The two buildings, to be known as Parkes West and East, will host teaching and research spaces, retail offerings, cultural and student-focused spaces, facilities for new and existing industry partners, and a new courtyard space, Parkes Green.

Together, they were to provide 9500 square metres of floor space, although Parkes West, on the prominent corner, will now have slightly less space.

The ground floors will contain a mix of teaching, event and community spaces, while UNSW workspaces and research areas for research partners of varying scales and levels of security will fill the upper levels.

render of development

A closer look at how the buildings will interact with airbridges and a pedestrian thoroughfare.

The plans say the buildings will be linked by a series of elevated bridges at upper levels to promote interaction and collaboration between students, staff and research partners.

Stage 1 will also include remediation of the land, a new access road to service both buildings and basement parking for 126 vehicles.

It is the first of four stages to be built as part of the UNSW Canberra City Master Plan, approved last year by the ACT Government.

render of development

The view from the Parkes Way roundabout. The building will be less imposing than before.

Last year’s concept plans document said stage 1 would play an essential role in establishing the new campus and setting a standard for future stages of development.

“The buildings need to embrace current thinking in designing education and spaces for engagement and collaboration with industry,” it said.

“They need to represent an attitude that goes beyond the expected level for sustainability and Country-centred design. They need to create a sense of community on day one to attract investment and create a sense of engagement for students, staff and researchers.”

UNSW says the revisions made to the original designs integrate the feedback that was received and have resulted in a distinct and expressive building design that will add to the vibrancy of the city.

Development applications are expected to be submitted to the ACT Government and National Capital Authority in mid-2024, with construction commencing in 2024-25. Stage 1 is expected to open in 2027, a year later than first envisioned.

The community can comment on the new designs through pop-up sessions and by making submissions.

To learn more, visit the UNSW website.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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