Today we are marking the next important milestone in the development of our NeW Space education precinct in the city - the release of the initial design concepts.
Melbourne firm Lyons Architecture have joined with Newcastle locals EJE Architecture, and developed a striking and contemporary concept that focuses on connecting our campus, students, academics and researchers with our community.
UON's students and staff are the centre of the NeW Space design thinking. Lyons/EJE have developed a clever 'vertical campus' concept, which places a mix of learning and research spaces and student areas throughout the building, and multiple open spaces to enable formal and informal learning including game-based and other approaches. The technology embedded learning environments have been designed to provide flexibility and adaptability to switch between multiple modes within a class and between a class; and at the heart of the building, is the dynamic and technology-enabled learning suite – an open and interactive space built over three levels.
Key to the NeW Space education precinct design is its 'openness' to the community. The ground floor is open and expansive, welcoming the community into NeW Space to engage with staff and students. Learning spaces are located on the footpath so people walking by are connected to student activity. There is a 'Campus Green' connecting into Christie Place that will offer a quiet reflective space for everyone to use.
A special feature of the NeW Space design are 'urban rooms', which represent the University "looking out to the immediate city and to the world beyond". The urban rooms provide vantage points of key views over the city including: Nobbys and the Hunter River, the Town Hall and City Hall, Auckland Street, the 'business' end of Hunter Street and Christie Place. As breakout areas for students, research staff and other academic staff, the 'urban rooms' are arranged around the building in a way that invites people to explore, research and learn throughout NeW Space.
This is an exciting project for the University, and through the initial design concepts Lyons/EJE have creatively captured the essence of NeW Space: providing a next generation experience for our students, offering a dynamic and contemporary teaching and research environment for staff, and connecting with industry, business and our community.
We have much to achieve but we are on track to welcome students to the NeW Space education precinct at the beginning of the 2017 academic year. More information including images and animations of the initial concept are available at www.newcastle.edu.au/newspace
I look forward to updating you as we make progress with this landmark project.