UTS has called upon designers from across Australia to try their hand at creating a concept design for its future Indigenous Residential College.

To be located on UTS’ city campus on Gadigal Land, the College will comprise 250 beds, allowing easier access to tertiary education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in an environment that celebrates their cultures and identities. The residential college is the result of extensive consultation with Indigenous staff, students and alumni.

“For Indigenous Australians that means access to higher education and facilitating excellence; for non-Indigenous Australians it is about providing opportunities to learn about Indigenous Australia,” says UTS Special Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor on Major Indigenous Priorities, Michael McDaniel.

“Most Indigenous people don’t have a history of participating in university education. By creating a place with Indigenous culture at its heart – not on the periphery – the college will help Indigenous people ‘see’ themselves at university. For the first time Indigenous people will be the hosts not the guests in a place based around their traditions and identity.”  

UTS Vice-Chancellor Andrew Parfitt says he is delighted to usher in a new chapter of Indigenous education for the university.

“This exciting next step towards our Indigenous Residential College is very much in keeping with UTS's whole-of-university approach to Indigenous education and employment. 

“As UTS embarks on this next growth phase within its Ultimo-Haymarket precinct, leveraging the strategic focus on innovation, technology, creative industries and diverse housing, we look forward to welcoming Indigenous students from all over the country, as well as non-Indigenous students committed to living in an inclusive campus community, part of a broader inclusive society. 

“The college will model the society we wish to see and grow the next generation of Australian leaders – Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike.” 

The design brief includes the design, landscape and public art process, led by deep consideration of and respect for Aboriginal Country; a 250-bed college and publicly accessible arts centre, library, workspaces, pastoral care and tuition spaces; communal spaces; the adaptive reuse of heritage elements; public art installations; and a pedestrian through-site link from Harris Street to Omnibus Lane and public open spaces.

Submissions must be grounded in principles of identity, connectivity and sustainability and reflect a self-determined approach to education. Each design team must include an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander architect or suitably qualified designer who will lead and have agency over the cultural aspects of the project.

UTS has opted for a multi-party funding model for the College, with the university, government and philanthropic donations already contributing funds for the project. The university has invited additional external partners to make the initiative a reality.

Expressions of Interest close for the project on 2 February 2023. A minimum of five design teams will be shortlisted for the second stage of the competition and invited to submit entries. A winner will be announced in September 2023 with the college scheduled for completion in 2027.

For more information, visit www.irc.uts.edu.au.