Western Sydney University Sends Learning Sky-High With It’s First Vertical Campus

Western Sydney University has officially unveiled its $220.5 million flagship campus in the Parramatta CBD.

Opened by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the 14-storey, five-star building will be the first vertical campus for the University, and the first of its campuses to be embedded in the heart of a major CBD.

It was named the Peter Shergold Building, and its campus will be home to 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from the University’s School of Business and other discipline areas.

Image courtesy Sally Tsoutas

It boasted one of the most technologically advanced teaching and research spaces developed in Australia and across the world and is also home to Australia’s largest professional services firm PwC and government agency WaterNSW.

“The Parramatta City campus has been an ambitious undertaking by the University and our partners, Charter Hall, John Holland and the City of Parramatta Council,” Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover said.

“Just like its namesake, the Peter Shergold Building will strengthen the University’s connection with Western Sydney and its people.”

Image courtesy Nicole England

The building’s design by Architectus embraced a 21st century theme – they dispensed with traditional lecture theatres and encouraged innovation, interaction and discovery through the use of smaller, informal learning spaces such as group study rooms with screen sharing and video conferencing, and collaborative learning studios, spread across six floors of the building.

The interactive and digitally-infused studios promote the ‘flipped classroom’ model of group-based learning, and include an extensive range of features such as writable walls and computers on wheels, through to high-tech cameras and interactive touch screens to allow students to share and compare work around the classroom – all powered by the high-speed Wi-Fi connection throughout the building.

More than 550 digital screens and information panels are located throughout the campus, including a 7.5 metre x 1.5 metre curved LED information display which forms the centerpiece of the building’s lobby and can be viewed from any vantage point.

Image courtesy Bryan Siebe

The campus also contains a digital way-finding system, ‘Campus Navigator’, which, via touch screens, puts information at students’ fingertips, providing them with real-time updates on everything from their classroom timetable and available PCs, to weather forecasts and the next bus, train or ferry arrival.

The Parramatta City campus marked the completion of the first phase of the $2 billion Parramatta Square redevelopment – the largest urban renewal project in Australia.

City of Parramatta Council Administrator Amanda Chadwick said the opening of the Western Sydney University building marked a major milestone for the Parramatta Square project, “which will provide a vibrant, activated CBD core with quality commercial, educational, residential and recreational offerings”.

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