Melbourne University's building infrastructure upgrade

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Melbourne University's building infrastructure upgrade

The quality of the ‘Melbourne Experience’ is closely aligned with the level of amenity at all campuses of the University. Programs that upgrade teaching spaces, develop student facilities, increase the functionality of research infrastructure and improve the presentation of the external campus environments are a critical component of this experience for students, staff and visitors.

UoM Enabler Strategy: Building Infrastructure

Those are the opening words from the University of Melbourne's (UoM) 2011 Building Infrastructure document which provided an overview to the University's largest infrastructure upgrade since inception. At the time, UoM's portfolio consisted of more than 300 buildings over a number of campuses, with Parkville naturally the largest.

The University’s property portfolio during 2011 was valued in excess of $2.575 billion with a total replacement cost of the buildings alone approaching $2.65 billion.

Melbourne University's building infrastructure upgrade
Peter Doherty Institute & School of Architecture

During the last decade multiple new, landmark buildings have been delivered by UoM either solely or in partnership, they include:

Melbourne University's building infrastructure upgrade
The Spot aka Law & Business by Metier 3. Images © Ben Kreunen

University Square and Bio21 were the vanguard of new generation developments with Metier 3 Architects' Business and Economics Building reaching completion during early 2009. According to the Enabler Strategy document, Melbourne University is in the midst of its most extensive program of building works ever, with total value of projects recently completed, in progress or in design well in excess of half a billion dollars.

As construction of the Faculty of Architecture, Building & Planning nears completion, new projects have emerged to maintain the tertiary institution's forward momentum.

Current build - Leicester Street Student Accommodation

Melbourne University's building infrastructure upgrade
Leicester Street Student Accommodation. Image ©
  • Address: 123-127 Bouverie Street & 116-128 Leicester Street, Carlton
  • Operator: Campus Living Villages on behalf of Melbourne University
  • Design: Architectus
  • Head Contractor: Watpac
  • 15 levels at 49 metres in height
  • 648-bed student accommodation facility
  • 103 bicycle and 0 car parking spaces
  • 5 star Green Star Rating
  • Construction value: $60 million
  • Completion: construction commenced and ready for Semester 1, 2016

Although not of the same architectural pedigree as the above projects, the mammoth student housing facility has been designed with one eye toward turning the complex and immediate area into a 24 hour venue. Multiple retail spaces, multiple lounges, a large terrace and swimming pool radiate away from a central pedestrian spine which runs to a village square.

Campus Living Villages will operate the facility in in a 38-year Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement. In addition UoM have also recently purchased the former 11-storey commercial tower at 303-305 Royal Parade with a view to providing an additional 200-300 student beds, further adding to the University's development pipeline.

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Discussion (4 comments)

James Adams's picture

As a student, I wasn't aware of these upcoming projects, so thanks! Always interesting to see the university evolve around you.

Although, I've gotta say, I'm not a fan of the new architecture building at all. It is dull and boring, not something an architecture (or any) building should be. It's already looking dated, like the ugly red-brick Redmond Barry next door, and it hasn't even been opened yet. I think the photo in the article highlights how poor it is.

Fedsquared's picture
Bilby's picture

I wondered who was responsible for destroying the magnificent heritage Edwardian factory on the site. It would have looked amazing stripped back to the red brick with the factory windows and facade restored. They were doing it in the '90s when I was a student there, too. Melbourne Uni. - still eating Carlton one heritage building at a time:

Mark Baljak's picture

Yes the new Architecture building is an acquired taste - externally at least

video presentation for the finalists -

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