The University of South Australia’s (UniSA) new $80 million student learning centre has opened, unveiling a state-of-the-art learning and information hub designed by architects John Wardle and Phillips/Pilkington.

Located on Hindley Street, Adelaide, the eight-storey, 12,480sqm Jeffrey Smart Building strengthens the university’s relationship with its urban surrounds, and features panoramic views of the city at certain vantage points.

Each floor is designed with colour themes inspired by the South Australian landscape, from the red centre to the coast. According to the architects, spaces and experiences shift in orientation and scale, becoming less inwardly focussed as they progress up through the building.

The building is home to the UniSA library as well as a whole host of student services, wrapping around a central courtyard with an open air cinema and green public area.

This central space reinforces the urbanity of the campus, and forms connections to the glazed forum style ground floor entry and the streetscape beyond.

UniSA Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says the building’s design and purpose will allow the university to extend its footprint and transform the west end of the city with its vibrant student population.

“We are starting to get a real picture of what this end of town will be like when the suite of buildings planned for the area come on line – from SAHMRI, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, and our own new Centre for Cancer Biology and public science gallery, through to the further new and re-developments we have planned in and around City West campus,” notes Professor Lloyd.

Online collaboration and collaborative learning are also an integral part of the design, with the over 600 student computers provided within the centre. This includes tables of fold-down computers which allow lecturers and tutors to tap into students’ work from their own computers, and display it on the big screens for discussion. 

Taking student feedback into consideration, private lockers that incorporate device charge stations for students to power up their phones or tablets securely is another initiative that has been introduced.

“The building provides some core practical consideration but also all the inspiring and exciting features that make it a great place to learn,” says Professor Lloyd.

Photography by Jim McGuinness