The new development

31 May 2017

Why is ANU building new student accommodation?

The demand for housing on campus currently exceeds the number of spaces we have available. We estimate approximately 1,500 students who wanted to live on campus in 2016 were not able to be accommodated. By building new residences, we will be able to maximise the number of students who get to enjoy the unique experience of living at ANU, providing accommodation that meets the standards of the future.

Where will the new residences be built?

The new residences will be built on the existing Bruce Hall site. Two buildings will be constructed on the current Bruce site with an open green space in between. This will extend University Avenue all the way from Childers Street in the east through to Clunies Ross Street in the west in line with the Griffin Plan.

The Packard Wing building wing will remain, however the rest of Bruce Hall's buildings are being demolished.

Has ANU assessed the heritage value that Bruce Hall contributes both to ANU and Canberra?

A detailed heritage impact assessment was carried out by an external consultant for the ANU. The assessment identified that Bruce Hall has not been nominated to, or entered in the Commonwealth Heritage List.

However as part of the impact assessment undertaken the significance of the social connection between alumni and Bruce Hall was identified. This was also one of the concerns raised in the alumni forums.  In response, further work has been undertaken to integrate important cultural elements within the design and document the process to select further symbolic items of history. This will ensure the preservation of the cultural traditions that are of value to Bruce Hall residents and alumni. The heritage impact assessment has also identified the requirement to define the activities that are to be undertaken in the transition phase of relocating from the current Bruce Hall to the new Bruce Hall.

In terms of echoing the former building design as part of the new building design, expressed columns and beams in the dining hall have been included, the Fred Ward furniture will be retained, the Bruce Hall crest will be recreated at the end of the dining hall, the Leonard French art will also be relocated to the dining hall and the Fugleman sculpture will be refurbished and relocated to the new Bruce Hall.

To assist with preservation, the Bruce Hall Keep and Preserve Advisory Group has been established to assist to identify, collect and store significant artefacts, artwork, documents, furnishings, furniture and objects relating to the unique culture and histories of Bruce Hall. This group will help determine and manage the Bruce Hall collection and continue to ensure important components of it are appropriately integrated into the new buildings.

Bruce Hall currently has accommodation for 330 students. Can the University make Bruce Hall with fewer beds and the other hall with more?

The total number of students that can be accommodated in the two residences needs to be around 800 but this could mean more students in one hall of residence and fewer in another.

The University's original concept was for two halls, each with 400 residents.  In addition, Bruce Hall would have had another 78 residents in Packard Wing.  After receiving feedback from staff and students, the University has amended the proposal so that Bruce Hall will have 360 residents plus Packard Wing and the other hall will have 440 residents.

What are the key design features of the new building?

Bruce Hall alumni and students are very attached to many of the design elements and spaces of Bruce Hall, in particular the communal spaces like the dining hall and the Buttery. ANU and its architects have paid close attention to retaining many of the existing Bruce Hall features in the new Bruce Hall building. Feedback from ongoing forums with the students have been incorporated into the design of the new Bruce Hall dining room and Buttery.

Each Hall will have its own private central quadrangle, dining hall and common areas.

Designs for these communal spaces are well advanced now but will continue to evolve over the coming weeks.

Will the new Halls be catered or uncatered?

Both residences will be catered. Providing quality meals for students living at both Halls is a key priority. The provision of excellent catering is a core part of the plan to make these residences the premier new facilities for on-campus accommodation. The University is finalising the specific catering options for both Halls.

When will the new residences be built?

ANU expects both Halls to open at the beginning of the 2019 academic year.

Are both of the proposed halls to be called Bruce Hall?

One hall will be Bruce Hall and the other Hall is yet to be named.  

How will temperature be controlled in the new building?

The buildings have been planned and designed to make them as efficient as possible. The student rooms are not air conditioned, there is heating only. Common areas will be air conditioned.

What will the impact of the new buildings be on car parking? 

We are not losing any car parking spaces to accommodate the new buildings. ANU has a number of existing car spaces and recently we made available additional spaces for students in the Dickson Parking station.

We encourage students to take the healthy option and walk or cycle around the campus to lessen the demand we have for car parking on campus. Residential students consume a proportionately lower number of parking spaces than staff and students who travel to ANU.

The balconies seem too small and impractical. Will the senior residences have larger balconies like in the original Bruce Hall?

Every room in the new design will have its own juliet balcony, with a fully opening door. While these balconies will not be large, they will allow plenty of fresh air and light into student rooms.

Historically the larger balconies were given to more senior students. The feedback from the current students is that a more equitable approach is preferred and all students are to be provided with balconies. Each building in the new Halls will have rooftop gardens providing another open space for students and a location to host informal gatherings and meetings.

Will the new quads be private and accessible only to residents?

The proposal is that the quads in the new buildings will be secure and only accessible to students of the Halls.

How have the new buildings been designed to maximise energy performance?

The project aims to achieve environmental and resource efficiencies where possible. The project is ineligible for a formal Green Star rating due to the class of building  but we will be seeking an aspirational 5 Star Green Star rating and hope to utilise the Green Star Multi Unit Residential tool to provide guidance in the preparation of the design and the management of the construction period. The building will be designed to meet current NCC/BCA energy efficiency requirements and the fixtures and fittings will be selected to be as efficient as possible within the project budget. 

There are no plans for major renewable energy generation on the building as this needs to be considered in the broader context of the University.  We are proposing to provide the spatial requirements and necessary infrastructure to allow installation of PV cells at a later date for domestic heating, hot water or electricity supply.