GroupGSA has just completed work on stage one of its Northfields Student Accommodation project at the University of Wollongong (UoW) for Hutchinson Builders. Named Bangalay by the university (an aboriginal word for recognition), it delivers a dynamic space at the forefront of postgraduate student accommodation destined to attract local and global students.
GroupGSA’s brief was to create a benchmark destination for postgraduates, recognising the growing number of overseas and local students who bring their families to live with them on campus. It focused on creating an alternative housing model during stage one that would create a community for these students, providing a ‘home away from home’ that encourages supportive learning.
The 7720 square metre project features 212 apartments (254 beds) on an established landscape along Northfields Avenue, with stunning views to Mount Keira. Flexible units range from studio to two and three bedroom apartments to better accommodate young families when needed, while large shared and open plan facilities accommodate group learning and family activities.
Bangalay delivers a unique and contemporary accommodation solution in synergy with the campus’ strengths and qualities, with learning and social opportunities extended into the new residences. A central courtyard links directly to the communal spaces inside with the main wing running parallel to Northfields Avenue, creating a separation from the busy thoroughfare. By maximising the height envelope, most accommodation enjoys north, east or west aspects to maximise natural light and heating in winter.
By taking advantage of the slope on the site, level access is provided to the prominent main entrance off Northfields Avenue. Entering the secure lower ground floor, students are greeted by a reception area where they can access mailboxes, a bicycle store and a waste room. The building is carefully sited to sympathise with the future childcare site to the south-west. It also allows for future pedestrian links and solar access to the site.
Stage two of the project is currently under construction with the three-building, 800-bed Kooloobong student accommodations. Employing the concept of a tree house, GroupGSA will create a home away from home inspired by positive psychology, enhancing holistic experiences at the individual, community and local levels.
UoW have received an unprecedented amount of enquiries and confirmations into the Bangalay accommodation unit, which opened its doors to students early this year. With its innovative design and thoughtfully composed spaces, GroupGSA promises to revolutionise student accommodation across Australia, demonstrating how well-designed developments can further promote our world-class universities overseas.
All images courtesy of GroupGSA.