Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus

Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus
Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus

Construction works on Western Sydney University's new purpose-built vertical campus in Liverpool wrapped up in the second quarter of 2018. The 10-storey build at 100 Macquarie Street was undertaken by Binah Constructions and can now accommodate thousands of students over the course of an academic year.

The latest in a national shift toward vertical education facilities, Western Sydney University's project was a joint design effort between Mosca Pserras Architects and Woods Bagot.

Part of the University’s ‘Western Growth’ initiative, 100 Macquarie Street is located within the fastest growing area in the Sydney region. In addition to providing learning outcomes, the 16,820 square metre facility will also providing opportunities for local enterprise and institutions to grow in conjunction with the university.

The weekend passed saw Western Sydney University hold an open day onsite, showcasing 100 Macquarie Street's focus on nursing, social sciences, social work, anthropology, community welfare, criminology and policing programs.  Learning spaces are also intertwined with ancillary facilities such as a library, student hub, symposium space and student services area.

Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus
100 Macquarie Street in an evening glow. Image: Trevor Mein

Whilst Mosca Pserras Architects provided base building design input, Woods Bagot were tasked with creating a wider brief and subsequent interior design that "exemplifies a blended learning approach through a highly connected and collaborative environment, delivering a dynamic and brand-aligned City Campus for 2,500 students."

As Woods Bagot’s regional Education sector leader, Alan J Duffy provided in depth commentary on the new Liverpool landmark.

The design delivers a vertical campus building that both enables and exemplifies creativity, choice and critical thinking for the next generation of social science and nursing and midwifery graduates.

Now that the building is open and in use, it is a privilege as designers to see the students using the space in a way that actually extends how it was intended – customising and using space in their own way.

Just as the Georges River connected communities over time in the Liverpool catchment area, the internal stairs connect campus occupants between floors, encouraging interaction and collaboration. The meandering activity along the bold, vibrantly red stair will be visible from the streetscape, exemplifying the idea of learning on display and creating positive presence.

This is a world-leading campus for Liverpool that not only gives our students an enriching and unparalleled learning experience, but one that is embedded in the economic, social and civic life of the city.

Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus
The signature red staircase. Image: Trevor Mein

Woods Bagot's wider design concept for the new campus centered around the idea of “connectography”, the melding of globally-minded, technology-driven “connectivity” with that of “geography”, which in 100 Macquarie Street's case references the location of Liverpool and its relationship back to the City.

This notion of connectography permeates the design, with organic forms and circulation pathways key design focuses. Each floor contains flexible learning spaces, connected via a distinctive and voids which form a continuous meandering vertical link; this in turn encourages informal meetings and social congregation. 

The project's most visible design feature is the fire engine red angular staircase which sits directly behind the transparent double glazed facade. The stair in part emphasises the vertical nature of the design where "the community can visually connect with the internal activities occurring in the building." 

Wood Bagot's all-encompassing design approach extends to the ground plane where further flexible spaces can accommodate orientation days, public announcements, industry presentations and pop-up events, in turn fostering greater engagement with the community .

Profiling Woods Bagot's role in Western Sydney University's new Liverpool campus
Facility in use. Image: Trevor Mein

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak

Tags: 
Western Sydney University Mosca Pserras Architects Woods Bagot Liverpool

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