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Woods Bagot has made headway on its sensitive restoration of the Forestry Building for the University of Tasmania.
Demolition works, which commenced in January this year, have now been completed, with structural installation and construction works now beginning to take form.
“The demolition process, which involved substantial salvage and reuse of materials, both on site and elsewhere, is now complete, with early-stage construction now underway,” says project leader Alastair Flynn.
Following a recent site visit, Woods Bagot Associate Phoebe Settle said it has been satisfying to see the future of the space start to take shape.
“The volume of the space is coming to life, and you can now see the vistas through the site,” says Settle. “With demolition works complete, we’ve cleared the rabbit warren of structures that were there before, and you can start to see the new navigation and wayfinding paths unfold.”
The former Forestry Tasmania headquarters comprises two heritage-listed 1930s brick warehouses alongside the 22-metre-diameter domed atrium added by Tasmanian-based Circa Morris-Nunn Cha Architects in 1997.
The glass dome, made from 16 segments of curved laminated Tasmanian oak beams and faceted glass cladding, originally acted as a greenhouse, serving to create a temperate microclimate for the indoor garden beneath. The original plantings were removed after the building was vacated in 2017 and the premises has since lain dormant, gradually falling into disrepair.
Woods Bagot and the design team are breathing new life into the site, creating a connected and welcoming campus space for the university. Working closely with landscape architects Realm, Woods Bagot will reinstate the native temperate rainforest that formerly stood beneath the dome.
As well as overseeing the restoration of the existing buildings, Woods Bagot is also leading the design of new structures onsite. Once completed, the Forestry Building will become a verdant learning hub for students, marrying history and future in its delicate fusion of old and new.
Following its renewal, the building will be home to the university’s teaching and learning spaces, as well as administrative offices for university staff. Practical completion on the project is slated for August 2025.
The Forestry Building is part of the University of Tasmania’s Southern Campus Transformation, relocating its premises from the current Sandy Bay Campus into the Hobart CBD.
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