New $94.4 million state-of-the-art university precinct

Nikki Ward

Associate Director

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has unveiled its new $94.4 million Education Precinct building located at its Kelvin Grove Campus in Brisbane, offering teaching and learning opportunities in a world-class environment.

The Faculty of Education and QUT’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Oodgeroo Unit are housed in the state-of-the-art, six-level building, spread across 10,500 sqm.  Designed by Wilson Architects and Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects, the project is a model for educational precincts internationally and sets a new benchmark for contemporary and sustainable design.

The development of the new precinct involved the demolition of two existing 30-year-old buildings, project managed by Turner & Townsend under the direction of QUT’s Facilities Management Department

Robin Sweasey, National Head of Education for Turner & Townsend and Senior Project Manager for QUT’s Education Precinct development comments: “The project was a collaborative team effort over a four-year time frame with all team members and stakeholders working together to deliver the very best outcome for the university.

“The inclusion of a five-metre diameter LED Sphere suspended over two floors is a focal point in the atrium and showcases the very best of visualisation technology. The Sphere facilitates interactions with teaching content in a unique format.”

QUT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Margaret Sheil said the university was excited to welcome students this semester to the new precinct.

“This is a significant investment by the university in enhancing the student learning experience and continuing to provide quality teaching and education,” Professor Sheil said.

“These facilities have been purpose-designed and reflect QUT’s commitment to applying technology and immersive digital environments in teaching, research and engagement.”

 

John Thong, Director at Wilson Architects and representative of Henning Larsen said: “This project is a flagship and transformative development for QUT, offering new teaching and learning opportunities in a stimulating and sustainable world-class environment.

“The conceptual framework for this memorable place leverages off strong connections to the existing Campus Library and Campus Pedestrian spine to reveal a highly visible, large, interconnected, terraced atrium space enabling intuitive wayfinding and a highly visibly connection into the library.”

He added, “Spaces are dynamically flexible where students can find their unique place to study and collaborate. The physical framework inspires a variety of study modes and interdisciplinary collaboration by incorporating distinctive and inspiring spatial environments to stimulate informal interactions.”

The space between the existing Campus Library and the new Education Precinct has been transformed into a new internal garden and forms a central focal space within the building. It incorporates lush landscape planting, responding to the sub-tropical climate of Brisbane. The escarpment, formed between the upper campus and the newly pedestrianised Ring Road, is funneled into the atrium where the plants cascade through a series of terraced platforms.

The precinct is a key aspect of QUT’s strategic objective to enhance the Kelvin Grove Campus and position the university at the forefront of educational tertiary academia through interactive and flexible facilities.

Michael Vicenzino, Construction Manager for Hansen Yuncken said: “Hansen Yuncken prides itself on delivering the most challenging architecturally designed buildings to a high standard. The QUT Education Precinct project is no different and our project team worked tirelessly to ensure QUT would be left with a high-class tertiary education facility. We know the university and its students will enjoy this international standard facility for many years to come.”

Turner & Townsend has project managed over four billion dollars’ worth of major education precinct projects within the past 15 years for leading universities throughout Australia and New Zealand.