ANU’s ‘bold new vision’ for the future

ANU’s ‘bold new vision’ for the future

Australia’s top university has launched a new ‘master plan’ that will turn its campus into a vast network of new hubs linked by landscaped promenades.

The Australian National University’s (ANU) Chancellor and Chair of the Campus Planning Committee, Professor Gareth Evans, announced the “bold new vision” last week, saying it will guide the comprehensive physical renewal of the ANU campus over the next 20-30 years.  

The ANU’s plan is the product of intense consultation with staff, students and the ACT Government over the last 18 months, and close attention to the standards set by the world’s top universities.

Professor Evans said the implementation will “fundamentally transform” the look and feel of the campus, taking more advantage of the university’s natural bushland setting, better recognising Indigenous heritage and more successfully integrating architecture and landscape than in previous years.

“The starting point in preparing this Master Plan was to recognise that we needed one,” Professor Evans said.

“For all the formidable achievements of ANU as Australia’s and one of the world’s leading universities in research, teaching and learning, and policy engagement, we had to recognise the need for comprehensive campus renewal.”   

Professor Evans said the new plan will “spearhead” this renewal by addressing three “critical needs” for the ANU campus: more coherence, more connectivity and more vitality.

“And through its seven design principles, the Master Plan will impose a sense of structure across the whole campus – visible bones and joints – which we have never had before,” he said.

“Communal interaction, both in working and living, is central to a great university experience.”

Professor Evans said it is also clear that residential accommodation built into the fabric of different parts of the campus is a great way of enlivening spaces. But place-making, of the kind we have achieved with Kambri, doesn’t just happen: you have to work at it.”   

A distinctive feature of this Master Plan, is that it contains a detailed implementation strategy, identifying capital works in three separate streams, Professor Evans said. 

The first stage of projects will be delivered between 2019 and 2023, with a second phase extending for many years beyond that.

The Plan identifies a third stream of “opportunity projects” which can be undertaken at any stage as resources permit. 

“Of course, these lists can and will change over time, but they give plenty for our planners and administrators to get their teeth into right now,” Professor Evans said.  

The Master Plan is based on seven key principles: clearly defined hubs; landscaped promenade links; a vehicle restricted heart; strong city connections; harmonious ANU-distinctive design; vibrant living and working environments; and environmental sustainability.