Education

Auchmuty Outdoor Learning Lounge

Callaghan NSW

AUCHMUTY OUTDOOR LEARNING LOUNGE

Client:

University of Newcastle

Location:

Callaghan, NSW

Expertise:

Education, Community

The Team:

Architect: Leigh Richardson, Daniel Frith
Builder: Scape Constructions

Photographer:

Murray McKean

The Vision

With the focal point on the central courtyard, the redesign incorporates a diverse range of teaching and learning spaces for student and staff services. The area is designed for collaborative study, active informal learning, incidental meeting spaces, accessible routes to existing buildings and better legibility to the Shortland Precinct pedestrian spine.

The Gallery

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The University of Newcastle engaged SDA to refresh and reconfigure the existing shady and underutilised outdoor space adjacent to the Auchmuty library internal learning areas into a newly repurposed Outdoor Learning Lounge.

With the focal point on the central courtyard, the redesign incorporates a diverse range of teaching and learning spaces for student and staff services. The area is designed for collaborative study, active informal learning, incidental meeting spaces, accessible routes to existing buildings and better legibility to the Shortland Precinct pedestrian spine.

Public spaces and ‘sticky’ spaces were emphasised rather than just incorporated into the design. These integrated spaces offered a network of areas for both kicking back and tuning in, enabling students to change pace and atmosphere depending on their needs and tasks.

SDA were engaged as Principal Design Consultant and were responsible for engaging, managing and coordinating all sub-consultants on the project. Scope of works included design, tender and documentation through to construction of works.

Natural materials of timber and stone were used to contrast bold elements of colour, solid elements of steel and tactile textures of synthetic turf and soft outdoor furnishings; creating a space that immediately related to a sense of place to its users.

Through its occupation the learning lounge upgrade meets its brief and the resulting space showcases both collaborative (team-focused) and interactive (technology-driven) spaces. With lots of open spaces for group work and interaction, both traditional and innovative learning and teaching methods are readily facilitated.

Our aim was to provide a range of differing places that facilitates different modes of learning. The contemporary learning space includes study areas, break out spaces as well as more collaborative and social learning environments. A combination of a learning hub and a social hub, the community of learning and student activity animates all levels of this outdoor learning lounge. With a great variety of informal spaces for students to sit, study and converse, the space is an exemplar of the future of the University’s flexible learning spaces.

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