Western Sydney University’s (WSU) Hawkesbury Campus is soon to be the subject of further development, with Schools Infrastructure NSW planning to build a new Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education on the Richmond campus.

The NBRS Architecture-designed facility will comprise a number of linked single-storey pavilions that will provide agricultural and STEM education for a maximum of 325 students. The pavilions contain five science laboratories, 10 general learning spaces to encourage collaboration between students, dedicated areas for practical activities, a botany room, and accommodation for 62 visiting students and teachers from outback NSW.

Covered outdoor learning spaces, a dining hall, canteen, kitchen, ag plots and landscaping spaces will also be implemented within the building. 

NBRS outlines within planning documents that linear open building forms and lightweight construction techniques are key features of the build. The practice states the buildings will be deeply inspired by the Durag people, the local Indigenous tribe.

“The circulation and building forms have been inspired by the natural environment, the Hawkesbury River, the flood plains, the weaving patterns found in food bowls, and fish traps,” a design statement outlines.

“The buildings have been designed and orientated to capture views of the landscape and to maximise the connection between internal and external agriculture teaching spaces.”

A pedestrian plaza and promenade will serve as an artery that connects the building to the heart of the WSU campus. A ‘village green’ will feature in the centre of the school, taking advantage of the view of the Blue Mountains in the distance. The village green will be able to be closed down with large sliding barn doors that will trap the sun in and shield it from harsh westerly winds in the winter, as well as being able to open it up in summer. 

The centre will be available for students across the state for tertiary study and visits from students from across the country potentially overseas. The development application for the Centre of Excellence is currently on display, and will remain so until September 14. 


Image Credit: Schools Infrastructure NSW