University of Newcastle’s School of Education refurbishment modernises the 1970s three-storey L-shape building to better facilitate today’s predominant andragogy. In re-imagining the School’s previously traditional learning environment, Gray Puksand has created a generously open layout that accommodates new workspaces, meeting rooms, kitchenettes, amenities, informal learning spaces, teaching spaces and collaboration zones for postgraduate research students and staff.

yah
yah

The design looks to the future in proposing a contemporary and timeless interior that is technology-enabled. State-of-the-art virtual reality spaces will be included and all learning spaces are large and open plan, as well as flexible. Furniture was chosen for comfort and functionality, with an emphasis on fluid forms and circular modulations. Multiple seating options are centrally located to foster collaboration, while discreet lighting and carpet and vinyl plank flooring complete the uncluttered scheme.

Inspired by the building’s natural setting and the large native trees that surround it, the design takes its colour and material cues from the outdoors. Ochre, blue and grey prevail, as do tactile finishes and timber-look surfaces. The open plan permits unhindered views out to the adjacent bushland and generously sized windows further facilitate this, allowing ventilation and eucalypt-scented breezes throughout.

 

yah
yah

In addition to the interior’s refurbishment, the School also required an exterior upgrade, which includes new roofs and the main canopy and central entry in the facade, as well as landscaping. It was important to the University that homage be paid to the area’s Aboriginal people and their culture and this is clearly expressed not only through the design’s nature references but through the commissioning of an Aboriginal artist. They will be tasked with creating significant artworks for the School’s new entry and other select areas, ensuring both architecture and art are thoughtfully integrated from the outset and not inserted as an afterthought. The project is on a fast-tracked program and is expected to be completed in December 2021.

  • Please enter your details for full access to our downloadable content