Construction has commenced on a new $63 million plaza and student hub at Adelaide’s Flinders University, marking the start of the biggest redevelopment for the university in almost 50 years.

Designed by Woods Bagot, the new additions to the Bedford Park campus will include over 11,000m2 of new facilities, as well as a new terraced plaza space that features a terraced amphitheatre which can host up to 2,000 people.

The new hub and plaza, designed as the new front door to the campus, has been envisioned as a series of “student-owned” spaces that are focused on student interaction, engagement, and connections.

The scope of the project includes a new four storey administration building with a sustainable rooftop garden, a new three storey enclosed mall, and the refurbishment of the existing Union building and one level of the library.

New quiet study spaces, collaborative group lounges and conference facilities are also part of the redevelopment, as is the addition of new bars, food and beverage outlets, a function centre and retail.

“By creating a varying terrain of spaces from large to small, noisy to quiet, public to private, and collaborative to individual, the community of learners concept has the capacity to instil a strong campus-based learning experience,” explains Sarah Bell, Principal and Regional Education Leader at Woods Bagot.

The design sits within the landscape, taking advantage of the hill-face site and embracing views of the ocean and city. The buildings are formed around the central plaza, with landscape design integrating indoor and outdoor spaces.

The project, expected to reinvigorate the overall student culture, will incorporate a state-of-the-art wireless network that is currently being rolled out at Flinders. It builds on input from student and staff consultations over the past year, which included a competition for students to pitch their ideas for possible inclusion in the design.

The winner, Tamara Babig, had pitched for more group study areas, club spaces, student kitchens and other aspects aimed at increasing student involvement at the University.

The project is due for completion in 2016.