An intelligent synergy between space, use, function and materiality has created a vibrant and sustainable central hub for Macquarie University.
The largest element of the Central Courtyard Precinct transformation, 1 Central Courtyard provides a range of flexible learning and teaching spaces, maker spaces, food and beverage venues, multi-purpose spaces, graduation hall and associated amenities.
Designed as a progressive and exciting contemporary building, without overt references to its Brutalist neighbours, the building form comprises a matrix of narrow, light filled floor plates with a permeable skin, allowing views in to the active spaces and views out to the beauty of the Central Courtyard Precinct’s landscaped setting.
Located at the heart of the most beautiful part of the campus, with extensive exposure to the desirable northern sun, the built form steps down to provide large north-facing decks on each level, bringing more light into the building while providing a form that sits softly within the landscape.
“The arrangement of desks and seating really promotes collaborative work. There’s much more activity, discussion and assistance occurring in these rooms than the old-style, forward-facing tutorial rooms.”
Senior Lecturer, Molecular Sciences
The vertical circulation core is highly visible from the Courtyard and also from most places within the building. The two internal light courts and the stair tower combine to form a contiguous, visually open volume. Acting as an indoor/outdoor atrium, this combined space allows for clear legibility of circulation, visual connection between functions, encourages social interaction, and sustainable passive design for environmental comfort and ventilation.
“I feel like teacher-student relationship quality is enhanced because I can walk down the wide centre of the room and engage with every student group and sit down with a group if I want to have a closer conversation. Students also appear to develop positive and engaged working relationships with peers in these spaces.”
Senior Lecturer, Educational Studies
Sunlight and natural greenery are infused into the heart of the building and at ground level operable glass walls function to seasonal modes to allow the floor space to flow seamlessly from the Central Courtyard through to the light courts and terraces which overlook the northern landscape and lake.
“The variety of room designs, and mobility of layouts means that depending on structure and purpose of the teaching and learning, a great space can be created. There are also wonderful breakout areas outside the actual teaching spaces that benefit students. These multi-format new spaces will further challenge us to review the way we teach to improve the learning experience and success of our students.”
Associate Professor, Marketing