The design for a student accommodation project at the University of Melbourne’s new innovation precinct, located on the corner of Swanston and Grattan streets in Carlton was recently unveiled.
The new precinct will be a completely integrated offering that combines spaces for industry, research and development, academia, accommodation for postgraduates, a public showcase and community facilities such as childcare and retail.
Hayball’s project will sit at the heart of the new precinct showcasing an evolution in the quality and integration of student accommodation. In partnership with the University of Melbourne and as part of the Lendlease-led consortium delivering the project, Urbanest Australia will operate the facility marking its first foray into on-campus student accommodation.
The purpose-built living hub will offer 527 beds and extensive multi-purpose spaces to cater to the postgraduate market as well as visiting academics, in an initiative that champions innovation.
Thomas Gilbert, Principal at Hayball, is passionate about creating student accommodation that is specifically designed to foster information sharing, collaboration and connection.
“Innovation districts are becoming more popular across the globe, but what makes this Melbourne example so special is that it will also be a home for students and academics. Postgraduate students and visiting academics will experience true immersion in the precinct, living and breathing their research or studies while making the most of countless networking opportunities and Melbourne’s vibrant culture on their doorstep,” said Mr Gilbert.
“With contribution to the design process from leading student accommodation provider, Urbanest, design decisions reflected the maturity of the provider and were made with a focus on quality and functionality, while equally ensuring relevance to market, particularly regarding affordability.”
“A crucial consideration was bringing the enthusiasm and activity unique to academic culture into the common spaces and use this to extend and enhance engagement.
“The spatial manifestation of this initiative is the vertical street: an interconnected staircase, directly adjacent to the communal spaces, and opposite the lift core. No walls, no glazed partitions and no doors – a true atrium, open, connected and inclusive.”
According to Mr Gilbert, Hayball designed the space to encourage students and academics to meet, interact, exchange views and generate ideas within an ultimately flexible, safe and connected precinct. Open space, even within the tight urban context, has not been overlooked.
“From the open and transparent ground floor foyer, to the verdant podium terrace and up to the expansive mixed-use space of the atrium, the focus of residential communal life connects seamlessly to a central external oculus space,” continued Mr Gilbert.
“It’s well documented that students of today don’t live in a bubble – work, life and study are all intertwined. That’s why the lower third of the vertical street forms an informal social precinct with both intimate and generous multipurpose areas and outdoor terraces. It’s these spaces where students will build connections and start to develop a community.
Mr Gilbert concluded: “This is just one of the many student accommodation projects we’re working on, a number of which are in collaboration with the University of Melbourne within the wider precinct, enabling the University to reach its goal of offering a number of purposeful and affordable local beds for students. We’re humbled that one of Australia’s leading Group of Eight institutions continues to work with us to create inspiring social and learning spaces that offer more than just a bed, they offer a home.”