In an effort to differentiate themselves from a growing number of online education offerings, universities are looking to transform their campuses into ‘cities within cities’ to attract and retain students from across Australia and around the globe.
Education’s 21st century consumers want more from universities than just a place to attend lectures. They want an engaging experience while on campus, with a variety of spaces for both group and solitary study, and plenty of options for shopping, dining and recreation.
University campuses already have many of the hallmarks of a mini-city: they have large tracts of land; have many buildings of varying sizes; and are populated by thousands of people. While many universities have transformed their teaching environments into more flexible learning spaces, they are now turning their attention to enhancing ‘campus life’, enlivening the campus environment during the day and night to encourage staff and students to stay longer. A place where they can work, learn, shop and socialise.
The redevelopment of RMIT’s ageing inner-city Melbourne campus was designed to bring the student experience into the 21st century. Due to its urban location, the campus was physically a ‘city within a city’, but students needed to go beyond the university environment to access most city conveniences.
The creation of RMIT’s New Academic Street brought the diversity of metropolitan Melbourne into the university environment, physically and architecturally connecting the campus with the city that surrounds it. Melbourne’s eponymous laneways were recreated within the campus, and now feature retail outlets, arcades and walkways, creating a real sense of community and place for students and staff.
La Trobe University is also whole-heartedly embracing the concept of creating a city within a city, with plans to transform their Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north into a thriving city of its own. Where universities were once quite insular environments and occupied only by staff and students, La Trobe is proposing to turn their Bundoora campus ‘inside out’, encouraging local communities to not only learn, but also work, live and socialise within the campus.
Plans for La Trobe’s ‘University City of the Future’ include: a research and innovation precinct; a health and well-being hub comprising a private hospital, aged care and childcare facilities; a sports park for both elite and community sporting clubs; a city centre with commercial, retail and cultural facilities; and residential accommodation for more than 12,000 staff, students, and the general community.
Premis has completed a number of refurbishment projects at universities across Queensland.
You can take a look at some of our recent education projects here, or contact the team on 1300 773 647.