University of Newcastle - Hunter Building


University Dr, Callaghan NSW

Webber Architects was commissioned by the University of Newcastle Facilities Management to undertake internal refurbishments and alterations and additions to an existing undercroft within the Hunter Building (previously engineering workshops). The brief was to relocate 40 Student Services staff members from several satellite offices across the campus to one central open plan office space.

The internal layout, finishes, and fittings reflect the University’s current requirement for innovative workplace spaces by utilising breakout areas, quiet spaces, meeting areas, and individual workstations to entice staff members to interact when previously they had not worked closely together.

Schematic design defined the brief by utilising ‘Work Café’, ‘Meeting Commons’, ‘Nomadic Hub’ and ‘Social Hub’ principles throughout the open plan office. Projects of this nature backed by tested theory and research of office environments ensure successful outcomes and efficiency in design.

Environmental principles incorporated include external solar shading devices; increased natural light levels; and improved cross flow ventilation, where sliding doors allow up to 50% of the wall area to be operable.

Documentation and authority approvals were undertaken in two stage packages to allow commencement of construction during preparation of the interior concepts in order to meet program constraints.

Cost effective furniture and joinery selections, prefabricated elements such as the internal access stair, and retention of the exposed coffered ceiling were incorporated in the design to allow the space to be decanted and materials and elements recycled or reused in the future since it is likely the function of the space will change as the campus expands.