Construction has officially begun on the University of Melbourne’s $100 million student housing project.

Designed by Hayball Architecture, Little Hall will span 14 storeys and house 669 students across a mix of self-catered room types, from studios through to five-bedroom, five-bathroom cluster apartments.

It has been co-funded by the University of Melbourne and philanthropists Paul Little and Jane Hansen who gifted $30 million to the university for the project.

“The project will set a new benchmark for purpose designed high quality student accommodation and is one we are incredibly proud to put our name to,” says Little Project construction director Paris Lechte.

“Little Hall will provide much needed accommodation very close to campus and will at the same time provide a unique offering by incorporating lifestyle elements throughout the shared spaces.”

The residency is structured around a central garden courtyard featuring multiple terraces and includes a variety of recreational spaces such as a gymnasium, cinema, laundry, games lounge and cafe, and well as multiple study spaces.

The project is also home to a state-of-the-art communal learning hub, a unique feature of Little Hall, which will provide an academic enrichment program to residents to support both their transition to university life and study experience.

Located at 625-633 Swanston Street, a site that was once home to a former International Tobacco Co. factory and Lincoln House, the project will retain two heritage facades of historic significance, both which illustrate the industrial development that occurred during the Interwar period.

The architecturally designed facade will incorporate unique Portuguese limestone, plus generous shared spaces throughout will feature high quality natural materials.

The project forms part of a new philanthropic model for student accommodation, the brainchild of Jane Hansen, where at least $2 million per annum of returns from Little Hall will be used to fund a scholarship program for students

‘The Hansen Scholarship’ will be awarded to talented undergraduate students whose financial circumstances present a challenge to accessing a first-class education.

Built by Hutchinson Builders, Little Hall is scheduled to be completed by mid-2020, with the Hansen Scholarship Program to commence in 2020