The proposed revamp. RMIT’s Swanston Street campus/ Photo: Getty Images/Paul Jeffers
RMIT University will rejuvenate its CBD campus and overhaul a group of ageing buildings to change the face of a large section of Swanston Street.
Balconies and terraces will hang over Swanston Street, transforming the exterior of the buildings that RMIT acting vice-chancellor Gill Palmer described as “grey ghosts”. “They’re very drear,” she said.
The university has engaged five architectural firms, led by Lyons, to refurbish the 1960s and 1970s buildings that stand on the major city thoroughfare.
The university expects the New Academic Street project to be completed in 2017. A new Garden Building will include open vertical garden space to be used throughout the year.
The city campus runs along Swanston Street between La Trobe and Franklin streets.The redevelopment will be concentrated towards Franklin Street.
Inside, the buildings will be better connected with a series of escalators and a student hall that will run across two buildings.
Lyons director Carey Lyon said the redevelopment would “redefine the student experience”. “It will be a radical transformation,” he said. “The whole idea of a lively campus right at the centre of the city is really unique.”
Mr Lyon said the redeveloped buildings would provide direct access through a series of laneways to the “heart of the campus” from Swanston Street. “It will create this strong sense of an open, porous campus, which will be completely different to what it feels like at the moment.”
The university will carry out landscaping works on Bowen Street, which runs through the campus.
The redevelopment will also include almost 20 new retail outlets that will be accessible to the public. “We’d like to think if it’s a great place for students, other people will come in and use it as well.”
Professor Palmer said the university’s library will also be expanded substantially to include more space where students can study alone or work together on group assignments.
“Libraries are changing a lot. They’re not really repositories of books anymore although books are in there,” she said.
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