Architecture firms Wilson Architects and Partners Hill have collaborated on the design of a new student accommodation facility for the University of Queensland. The design, which is based on human values and creating learning communities, has won the architects, the $250m University of Queensland Student Residences Project.

Well-designed student accommodation that combines ‘living and learning’ sits at the heart of strong universities. With students paying more for their education, and expecting more from their overall university experience, universities and colleges are under pressure to provide a better environment that will attract the best students and support them through their study careers.

University of Queensland Student Union President Michael Lucas says the design is the first of its kind for universities in the country. According to Lucas, Australian universities often struggle with instilling a sense of community amongst students on campus; however the Student Residences Project challenges the concept of ordinary share house and college-style living.

The joint design ethos of Wilson Architects Director Hamilton Wilson and Partners Hill Director Timothy Hill helped guide the exemplar project.

The student housing design features five different apartment arrangements that are not organised along corridors, instead opening onto gathering, learning, kitchen and lounge spaces. Rooms are close to shared kitchen and living spaces, similar to the layout of a typical home.



Hamilton explains that research gives them a unique understanding and working knowledge of education and accommodation design from various perspectives including students, teachers and professionals.

They say that the research process is extensive and in this instance, has helped to create considered places for living and learning. For the Student Residences Project, the firm spoke to diverse groups of students and researched outside of architecture, drawing on psychological and behavioural learnings.

The student housing project continues Directors Hamilton Wilson and Timothy Hill’s longstanding relationship, and follows their highly successful collaboration on the multi-award winning Translational Research Institute (TRI).