Situated in the heart of the Parramatta CBD, Western Sydney University (WSU) is a pivotal campus connected to business and the community; a showpiece for a blended learning pedagogy in a future-focused, spatially diverse and student-centred environment.
The campus offers a vertical learning environment designed to foster interaction, collaboration and partnerships with local business and industry. Centred on the concept of “me (student), we (university), us (community)”, the interiors concept was developed to blur the lines between a traditional commercial office tower and a functional university campus.
Facilitating through-site connections integrated to a local network of civic and cultural strategies, the campus offers a malleable solution at the public interface with retail activation and digital wayfinding providing linkages to the adjacent transport hub.
Client briefing and aspirational workshops led to a series of proposals for a mixed-faculty occupation of the building, comprising a diversity of flexible spaces capable of accommodating multiple learning landscapes and academic disciplines. Creating a unifying vertical campus environment via an evidence based design approach, the vision was to create a campus multidisciplinary in function, innovative in approach and entrepreneurial in spirit.
A vertical campus building stacked over several floors can sometimes inhibit the opportunities for students and educators to co-mingle and interact. Featuring a porous core, the atrium concept creates a sense of community and connectivity allowing for greater mobility while aiding sightlines between floors. The provision of interconnecting stairs and voids encourages collaboration and organic conversation between students, staff and industry
An ‘agnostic’ approach to the interior fit-out, the design allows for truly flexible and future-proofed learning environments. There are no lecture theatres within the space, instead fostering an interactive approach to teaching and learning – a prominent aspect of WSU curriculum. Free flowing movement across each floor plate creates moments for discovery and serendipitous interactions.
For the academic zones, an open plan office pod design enables a more fluent and cost efficient utilisation of space. By embracing principles of open and moving away from the traditional cellular office model, WSU staff are invited to co-mingle with students, breaking down traditional campus hierarchies.