1. UTS Reading Room
“I want to give our university a place where really profound thinking can take place, free from interruptions or deadlines. In a fast-moving world dominated by technology, I think that’s important.” – Attila Brungs
On the outside, UTS Central may be a thoroughly modern glass masterpiece. But this interior space is taking its cues from the past.
This triple-height atrium is inspired by the kinds of traditional scholarly spaces where academics would once read, research and think deeply. Overlooking Alumni Green, its scale purposefully designed to invoke a sense of immensity and wonder.
A passion project of Vice-Chancellor, Attila Brungs explains the inspiration behind the space;
“An inspiring reading room has always been at the heart of great institutions of learning throughout the centuries, but even our most recent student surveys highlight their desire for exactly this type of space,” he explains. “Through the UTS Reading Room, I want to give our university a place where really profound thinking can take place, free from interruptions or deadlines. In a fast-moving world dominated by technology, I think that’s important.”
Opening: 25 November 2019.
2. The Hive Super Lab
“There’s the expectation from industry that graduates will be multi-faceted and highly skilled, with the ability to work with a myriad of disciplines; and have a forward-thinking, problem-solving attitude and confidence. Through its integrated learning lab design, The Hive Super lab will do just that – fostering the science problem solvers and innovators of the future” – Willa Huston, Associate Professor, UTS Science
Getting its name from the hexagonal design and ‘buzzy’ atmosphere, The Hive is the next step up from on our existing Super Lab. With a capacity of 270, 50 more students than our Super Lab 1.0, The Hive will allow seven classes to run simultaneously.
Designed to PC2 standards (that’s short for ‘physical containment level 2’), a level higher than our existing Super Lab, students will now be able to experiment with more types of biological materials and have greater exposure to the equipment and procedures they’ll meet in the workplace.
The lab’s design will create a learning space that’s active, student-led and collaborative. With 42 pods of six and 18 research spaces around the edges, it will allow groups to work together and problem solve as they would within the workplace. Plus bone conduction headphones placed on the temple (as opposed to in the ear) will allow students to both hear their facilitator and communicate with their group.
Opening: Autumn session 2020
3. UTS Library
“UTS Library will take its rightful place at the centre of the UTS campus. We will connect essential infrastructure both physical and digital to deliver what will be a superior student experience” – Michael Gonzalez, University Librarian
Farewell Quay St, the new UTS Library takes root in the centre of the campus ensuring that students and staff have greater access than ever.
Set to occupy levels 7 to 9 the new library directly connects to the high-tech Library Retrieval System (LRS) below the Alumni Green. With 70% of books stored underground, the library space can be better used to host a mix of group, individual, quiet and silent study spaces.
For those wanting a vitamin D boost or to study with a view, there’ll be two outdoor terraces open for informal study.
On campus and in-Library technology will also be complemented by a new online service, set to give students and staff an enhanced digital as well as physical experience.
Opening: 25 November 2019.
4. The informal learning spaces and Student Learning Hub
Feedback from student surveys consistency tells us that students place a lot of value on having a range of informal learning spaces while on campus. UTS Central will deliver just that, with a range of new informal learning spaces set to open.
Spanning levels 3 – 7, UTS Central will be home to multiple environments for individual and group learning. Students wanting to collaborate will access a range of bookable study rooms, and those students wanting some shut-eye between classes can head to the bean bag hubs, a direct request from students.
UTS Central will also welcome new Student Learning Hub. A pop-up space for student support services, it will give students support when they need it in a highly visible location. The Hub will activate the informal learning spaces and provide an engagement point for students and services from across UTS.
Opening: The informal learning spaces will open from late August 2019, closely followed by the launch of the Student Learning Hub.
5. The Large Collaborative Classrooms
“The challenge we’ve faced is, how do we make large classes seem small to students?” – Jo McKenzie, Professor (Learning and Teaching Projects)
Research shows that active and collaborative learning gets results. It helps students learn to think critically and work together to solve problems – skills essential to success in the future workplace. But the challenge we’ve faced is how to bring this type of active learning to large classes.
Cue the large collaborative classrooms. With 198 and 350 seats, these three new large collaborative classrooms are a world-first. Designed in consultation with academics, the classrooms will have no obvious ‘front’ of the room. Instead, they’re divided into a number of smaller ‘zones’, each with moveable tables to support collaborative learning [see diagram below].
The zones, Jo McKenzie says, seek to make these large classes seem smaller to students.
“Students tell us that they like small classes. They can get to know their teachers, meet other students, feel more comfortable asking questions. But this can be challenging for academics with large classes. By splitting the rooms into zones, supported by a tutor or peer mentor, we hope that students will be able to feel like they’re part of a smaller group inside a much larger class”, says Jo McKenzie.
The classroom will also feature multiple drop-down screens and mini AV pods at each zone, meaning screens can be synced classroom-wide or split to show bespoke content for the smaller groups. It will also support BYOD (that’s ‘bring your own device’) and of course be equipped with state-of-the-art AVS equipment so that students and academics can leverage the best of digital in their face-to-face learning.
Classes will begin to run in these classrooms from 2020.
Right now, academics across UTS are ‘pitching’ ideas on ways they would design learning experiences in these new spaces to enrich their large classes – with the top pitches the first to use the classrooms. Want to be one of the first academics to use the space? Find out more. And save the date for the Festival of Learning Design, Thursday 12 and Friday 13 September.
That’s not all…
This is just a taste of some of the spaces going into UTS Central. There’ll be more moving in over coming months, including the Faculty of Law, a new Moot court, trial courts, HDR space, research and projects spaces for the Faculty of Engineering and IT, RES Hub and the UTS Scholars Centre for UTS and external researchers.
Win a pre-launch tour
Keen to take a look at some of these spaces in person? Go into the draw to join a pre-launch guided tour with Shirley Alexander, DVC Education and Students. Tours are open to UTS staff only, will take approximately 1-hour and will be scheduled before UTS Central launches to the public.