Lyons architects and EJE Architecture have joined forces to propose what could signify a new model for university design at the University of Newcastle’s new city campus.

The consortia’s design, “NeW Space” was chosen through a competitive design process which saw submissions from 28 different design teams and has now been approved by the NSW Government Minister for Planning Pru Goward.

The winning project proposes a $95 million expansion of the University’s city campus to include a 10 storey building consisting of a library and information commons, collaborative learning spaces, and zones for professional and community engagement.

The adjacent heritage listed University House (formerly NESCA House) will also be refurbished and linked to the new building and city streets through new walking routes, a glazed “Bridge Link” and landscaping features by McGregor Coxall landscape architects.

Renders of the new building show a variety of geometrical forms that join at different levels to wrap around the corner and intersection of Auckland and Hunter Streets. The curtain wall comprises a combination of spandrel glass and double-glazed units and is shaded by a variety of coloured anodised aluminium sun-shade fins.

The distinctive fa├žade is also punctured by a number of “Urban Rooms” and lookouts that are framed by oversized powder coated aluminium hoods and feature open spaces for community gatherings.

The layout of the building is designed to promote civic interaction and creates a diagonal pedestrian link to town hall and the nearby civic theatre for the community. It is also organised to operate “vertically” and has student and learning spaces on all levels of the building in order to promote a higher level of chance interaction between students and staff.

Throughout the building, multipurpose technology-enhanced active learning (TEAL) spaces, ranging from 30 to 110 seats, will transform the learning experience and student environment.

 Amenities for executive development and corporate programs, a Business Incubator and community engagement facilities will also complement the TEAL spaces.

Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, Professor Andrew Parfitt said the planning approval will pave the way for work to start on the project.

“We welcome today’s announcement by the NSW Government regarding planning approval for the University of Newcastle’s landmark city building, NeWSpace. This is a transformational project for our University and city and it will deliver sector-leading innovation in education and benefits for business, industry and the community across Newcastle,” Professor Parfitt said.

“As we move into the next stage of this significant project, we look forward to working closely with our stakeholders to deliver an outstanding asset for the future of Newcastle.”

The new campus will be one of the first projects to be completed in the CBD since the NSW Government released the Newcastle Urban Renewal Strategy in 2012, and Goward says it will accelerate the city’s rejuvenation.

“This is a true urban renewal project, with a significant portion making use of a disused site while protecting and regenerating the heritage-listed University House,” Goward said.

“The new campus will bring increased numbers of new students and staff to the CBD every day, which is exactly the kind of injection of people and activity that will help stimulate the local economy and accelerate the city’s rejuvenation.”

Images: NSW Government.