University of Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay

One of Australia’s fastest growing regions can reverse a trend of low university enrolment now the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) has opened its Moreton Bay campus. By designing a ‘next-gen’ smart campus that’s super flexible for planned growth, we’re helping set up USC for success.

Only around 20% of young adults in the region have a degree right now. But that’s tipped to change dramatically, with some 10,000 students expected by 2030. We designed the three-storey Foundation Building to be built fast to meet demand, accommodating around 1500 students immediately and up to 5000 in the first three years..

With all that rapid change, the Foundation Building is designed to be super flexible – ready for growth and the delivery of new teaching and learning methods. It’s loaded with technology-enabled collaborative and interactive general learning spaces complemented by adaptable hands-on labs. These include a 120-seat ‘Wet Super Lab’ for sciences, nursing simulation labs, a 120-seat ‘Dry Super Lab’, a large-scale flexi-lab and maker space for engineering as well as specialist robotics, thermodynamics and advanced manufacturing labs.

The Foundation Building revolves around the ‘Rise’ – the beating heart of student life. It’s a two-storey stepped amphitheatre for informal learning, with an adjacent 24-hour library and concierge-style student services plus student and staff social spaces on the levels above. The Rise is ringed by the primary circulation system that features a diverse choice of settings, from intimate alcoves to brain-storming walls and project spaces.

USC Moreton Bay also welcomes its local community. For example, the 460-seat auditorium and adjacent learning spaces can host community events or conferences when they’re not in use for learning.

Client

University of the Sunshine Coast

Location

Moreton Bay, Australia

Status

Completed

Year

2020

Scale

11,382sqm

Collaborators

FreeState (part of Hassell)

Design team

Mark Roehrs, Andrew Currie, BP Loh, Keith Hayes, Hannah Galloway, Razvan Ghilic-Micu, Hanez Gatpo, Hui Hui Ngu, Kason Who, Peter Hastings, Paula Whelan, Michael Copeland, Madeleine Reyes, Roseanna Blackie, Naeun Chae, Samantha Bosward, Tarek Barclay, Sam Travers, Sarah Gaikhorst

PHOTOGRAPHY

Tom Ross

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1.5K undergrad students at foundation
5K students in first three years
10K students by 2030

Harnessing Queensland’s sub-tropical climate, we designed the foundation building to operate efficiently through the use of solar power, deep overhanging roofs and sun-shading.

USC wanted its Moreton Bay foundation campus to be active and welcoming from day one and to immediately be part of the community – without losing what makes this part of Queensland so unique. It wanted to make sure foundation students would want to return, and that a broader, more diverse student cohort would be enticed to get on board. 

Experience master planners, FreeState (part of Hassell), were engaged to make sure the new campus was a genuine community asset and a catalyst for new experiences in the region. Following a series of on-campus observations, one-on-one interviews, desk-based research and greater Sunshine Coast site visits, they devised a program of experience concepts’.

Simple things like urban pavilions capture community interest and become landmarks for meeting and events, like bands playing after class. By making sure these experiences are sustained, the engagement and energy will continue to grow around USC Moreton Bay.

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