‘Stage within a city’ unveiled for Honeysuckle campus

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

A sleek, sophisticated, transparent building with smart glazing will create a ‘stage within the city’ for the University of Newcastle, which revealed the design for the first building on its Honeysuckle City Campus Development today.

Honeysuckle Stage 1A building design

University Infrastructure and Facilities Services Director, Mr Brian Jones, said the building, designed by EJE Architecture, would facilitate community and industry engagement; housing an Innovation Hub, as well as new facilities for the University’s School of Creative Industries.

“We are proud to reveal the design for the first building on our Honeysuckle City Campus Development. This building demonstrates our commitment to supporting Newcastle as a city of the future – a smart city with a thriving entrepreneurial spirit and a vibrant creative scene,” Mr Jones said.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Zelinsky AO, said the Honeysuckle City Campus Development would create a strong presence for the University in the Newcastle CBD, enhancing its positive civic, cultural and social impact in the region.

“The unveiling of the design for the first building on our Honeysuckle City Campus Development is a momentous step forward in our long-term vision to grow, develop knowledge and be a driver of an innovative regional economy,” Professor Zelinsky said.

“Our region’s future musicians, graphic designers, writers and entrepreneurs will be just some of the people who will use this new site and benefit from its contemporary design and facilities.”

EJE Architecture Director, Anthony Furniss, said the building was destined to become ‘a stage within the city’ – a showcase of creators and innovators.

“The design creates a clean, crisp space for creators and innovators to interrupt the city as they choose,” Mr Furniss said.

“Much like a gallery – the building is pared back and sleek to reveal the activity inside – essentially it allows the University to ‘reveal itself to the community’.”

Mr Furniss said the elegant 20m building would use transparent glass and landscaping to draw people in to discover vibrant activity inside.

“The building will feature a smart glass glazing system with the potential for digital display,” Mr Furniss said.

The $25m building will provide a range of flexible spaces capable of reacting to the changing needs of the users. Shared spaces will include educational seminar and conference spaces, informal networking event spaces, exhibitions and demonstration of innovations.

The Innovation Hub space will facilitate co-working, meetings and collaboration, while the School of Creative Industries space will include state-of-the-art teaching and learning studios.

The building will be located on the North West corner of the University’s Honeysuckle site, bordered by Worth Place and Honeysuckle Drive. Works will start in the next few months, with construction expected to be completed late in 2020.

The Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub will facilitate business creation and development – attracting and cultivating world-leading researchers and a knowledge-based smart workforce in the Hunter region.

It will be a dedicated public place that will enable innovators and entrepreneurs to build great businesses by connecting them with community, customers, capital and experts.

The Innovation Hub is part of the Hunter Innovation Project (HIP), a collaboration between the University of Newcastle, the City of Newcastle  through $2 million in rate payer funding, Hunter DiGiT and Newcastle NOW.

The partners have a collective vision to establish and nurture an innovation ecosystem in the Hunter region, and the Innovation Hub is one of three key HIP deliverables, along with Smart City infrastructure and the development of a Digital Precinct in the Newcastle CBD.

The University was awarded $4.84m in Restart NSW funds for the Innovation Hub, as part of the Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Hon. Scot MacDonald MLC said the project would help develop Newcastle’s position as a digital hub for education, research and innovation.

“I’m delighted to see what this space will look like. Newcastle has a highly skilled workforce, supports a diverse range of industries and has a leading educational facility and we need to ensure we can continue to attract strong business investment and innovative people,” Mr MacDonald said.

“The NSW Government was pleased to support this project though $4.8 million through the Hunter Infrastructure & Investment Fund. This is an investment in the future of Newcastle as a city known for digital research and innovation, and that’s going to boost business opportunities and job growth for the region.”

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said “Today’s announcement is a significant leap forward for innovation-led economic growth and jobs diversification for Newcastle and the Greater Metropolitan area.

“We continue to collaborate with the University of Newcastle and our partners through the Hunter Innovation Project to increase digital connectivity and capture more city-data to enable residents, entrepreneurs and businesses to thrive in the digital century.”

Manager I2N Operations and Programs, Mrs Siobhan Curran said “The Innovation Hub will be an important conduit to enable innovation - providing a strong contribution to transition and propel the regional economy.”

School of Creative Industries

“This building will enable us to develop mutually-beneficial partnerships in industries including music, experience design, game art, animation, media, and visual arts,” Head of the School of Creative Industries Professor Egglestone said.

“The new facilities offered in the Honeysuckle building will enrich students’ learning experience, with specialised studios and technologies, and our close relationship with the Innovation Hub will help us achieve our ambition to develop entrepreneurial, enterprising graduates who’ll be running the creative businesses of the future from here in Newcastle.

“We are very excited about the opportunities that will be created as a result of this building and its innovative design.”


The building reflects the University’s commitment to sustainable design and operations, with features such as:

  • The first building in Newcastle to use an innovative cross-laminated timber frame, bringing low environmental impacts compared to traditional steel and concrete construction. It also results in minimal construction wastage
  • High thermal performance double glazed façade system, maximising daylight while minimising air conditioning loads
  • A targeted 5 Green Star rating (Designed and As Built) from the Green Building Council of Australia
  • Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar system
  • Rainwater capture, storage and reuse system
  • Native vegetation planting
  • Outdoor seating created from the University’s soft plastics recycling scheme – turning plastic bags into benches

More information about the Honeysuckle City Campus Development

The community can find out more and provide feedback by attending a community engagement session at NeW Space:

  • Thursday 28 February 6pm – 8pm
  • Saturday 2 March, 10am – 12pm

Alternatively email feedback to honeysuckleproject@newcastle.edu.au.

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.