University House - extended closure

9 October 2020

Information about the University House extended closure

Update 9 October 2020

On Monday 20 January 2020, Canberra experienced a destructive hailstorm which resulted in extensive building damage at the ANU Acton campus, with most buildings impacted, including University House. The subsequent, and otherwise welcome, rain of 9-10 February caused substantial further water ingress.

The storm and rain damaged the roof, electrical circuits, and disabled the fire system of University House. Many public rooms, hotel and student rooms, and some service areas also suffered hail or water damage. The scale of repairs, coordination with the refurbishments that were to begin in 2020, and the need for heritage and building code compliance, together mean an extended period of repair and refurbishment. The ANU Facilities and Services Team is overseeing this major work.

The University is fully committed to reopening University House; but for the reasons above, this will not be until 2021, at least. The exact date will depend on building assessments that are yet to be completed. When it reopens, the renewed University House will again be a sparkling showpiece of mid-20th century design, and campus and Canberra icon.

Is there any damage to the interior of the Great Hall, Scarth and Stanner Rooms, Common and Drawing Rooms, and Library?

There are varying levels of water ingress to each of these public rooms. The Hall and Scarth Rooms were most impacted by water, but the damage is repairable. There is only minor water ingress in the other rooms.

Is there any damage to the artwork collection at University House?

No. The entire artwork collection, including the Hall mural "Regeneration", has been relocated while repairs take place. Sculptures in the grounds will be protected during this period. We thank our colleagues at the Drill Hall Gallery for their assistance with the care and relocation of the collection.

How many resident students are impacted by the University House closure?

University House is home to a community of 66 PhD students living in the Garden and South Wings. They have relocated to Gowrie Hall, and remain members of the University and Graduate Houses student community. 

Are the grounds of University House still accessible? Are Fellows Bar or Boffins still open?

Unfortunately, all areas of University House will remain closed for the foreseeable future. A Fellows Beer Garden Pop-Up will open on Thursdays and Fridays from 8 October 2020, in the Law Courtyard (off Fellows Rd). Boffins will not reopen until 2021. We will provide updates through the ANU On Campus newsletter, websites, emails and social media.

What about accommodation or event bookings made during the closure period?

Our accommodation and events teams have been contacting all guests, clients and partners to help make alternative arrangements. Any deposits or other payments will be fully refunded, and no cancellation fees apply. For enquiries or any outstanding issues, please contact our accommodation and events teams, at accommodation.unihouse@anu.edu.au or events@unihouse@anu.edu.au, or call our relocated reception desk on 02 6125 5211 during business hours.

I'm a Member of University House. What will happen to my membership during the period of closure?

We will continue membership but waive membership fees for the closure period. Members will continue to enjoy offsite benefits, such as reciprocal rights at our partner clubs.

I love University House. Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes, you can help in a number of ways! ANU has established a "Friends of University House" Fund, to which you can make a tax-deductible donation; any contribution, large or small, will enhance restoration beyond the insurance-funded repairs. If you're not already a member of University House, you can join our membership list so we can keep you informed and involve you in discussions about our Recovery Plan. And you can join us at the relocated Fellows Garden, in the Law Courtyard, for a drink on Thursday and Friday afternoons, October - December 2020.

University House is catering for an event offsite. Will University House still cater for this event while they are closed?

We can cater for and host events from our temporary location in the former ANU Commons/ Union Bar rooms at 3 Rimmer St, on the ground floor under Lena Karmel Lodge (opposite Toad Hall).

I have made reservations at Boffins. Who do I need to contact?

Please email boffins.unihouse@anu.edu.au, or call the reception number below.

Are the Molly Huxley carpark and other parking adjacent to University House accessible?

No. The Molly Huxley carpark and other parking adjacent to University House have been closed. 

How can I stay informed about progress towards reopening?

We'll update this page at least quarterly, or when there's significant news. We'll also update the ANU campus community through On Campus, and University House Members directly.

Please email or call us with any questions or enquiries: marketing.unihouse@anu.edu.au or 02 6125 5211.