6.1 Introduction | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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6.1 Introduction

The 2012 Campus Master Plan articulates the enduring concepts which underlie the planning of the University’s physical setting and its academic, social and environmental relationship with the broader region. The plan intends to be capable of both growth and flexibility.

Through consultation among relevant stakeholders and design professionals, a series of seemingly independent requirements have been collated, brought into relationship with one another and developed as a unified governing structure unique to the institution’s environment and place.

This process of distilling the University community’s core aspirations have led to the identification of a number of goals, which to a significant degree establish the overall patterns of land use utilisation defined within the 2012 Campus Master Plan.

Primary organising principle

The primary organising principle for built form on campus is the linear open-ended order of buildings, with a long axis aligned perpendicular to the north-east. This planning strategy provides a structure for development that ties together the single large stand of trees near the entry location to the north-west, with the natural environment surrounding the campus lake to the south-east, establishing a clearly legible organisation and orientation for all buildings at the heart of the campus, and making their collective presence distinctive and memorable.

The linear form adopts the precedent of Thomas Jefferson's plan for the University of Virginia, creating a series of buildings arranged along a central open green, with each building having its principal entrance facing this linear common space.

Additionally each building fronting onto the central open green is required to have an arcade within the facade to provide protection, where appropriate, from the sun and rain, assuring a lively campus centre and sense of activity can be maintained throughout the day, and throughout the seasons.

The dimension between buildings across the linear space has been established as a distance within which one can recognise a friend's face, thereby retaining a human scale in this most significant and frequented part of the campus.

Building heights are generally limited to establish a uniform scale that recognises the value of the campus landscape, both within and without the central area, while further enabling natural air movement and sunlight to every building. Building height variations are more generally allowed at sites not facing the central open green.


Secondary organising principles

It is recognised that the linear plan will not be capable of sustaining the very long term growth of the institution. A variety of compatible building forms were therefore studied, and the Master Plan has incorporated those found to be most supportive of the originating campus form, while being also capable of flexible development within the design guidance parameters of the 2012 Campus Master Plan.

The 2012 Campus Master Plan proposes to extend the south-western side of the major building axis, linking it via a proposed development site to the Innovations Centre and campus entry area to the north-west. To the south-west, a row of buildings are aligned to the rear elevation of those buildings already facing the central open green. The form of these buildings offer potential for a sequence of small courtyards or open spaces within this precinct. Peripheral to this row, a proposed car parking structure is located to the far west; a similar structure is also located peripheral to a new building proposed north of the Administration Building.

A separate precinct has been indicated on the northern boundary of the campus, immediately adjacent Sippy Downs Drive. These two structures would offer potential for engaging with the scale, height and massing of other buildings along this street, which are likely to develop with the future Sippy Downs Town Centre.

At the opposite end of the major building axis, the site conditions warrant a variation in the arrangement of buildings in order for them to take advantage of the views offered by the campus lakes. Accordingly, the buildings here are distributed along the lake front, with appropriate setbacks to enable pedestrian activities and ecological continuity.

At this point in the plan, two buildings located south of the rugby field adopt the essentially east-west alignment established by the campus sports precinct, beginning the process of reconfiguring the campus building geometry in a manner which will integrate Building T with those buildings on the central open green.

The street network throughout adheres to the major building alignments, with the exception of the distinctive loop road to the north-west, which connects the northern and southern sides of the major campus axis.

A pedestrian and service vehicle access grid overlays the major axis at ninety degrees, creating a series of tree lined avenues for ease of pedestrian movement into the heart of campus.