dwp | education sector deliver Nihon University in Newcastle NSW
The design of learning environments is a major focus for dwp | design worldwide partnership with a number of specialists who lead educational facilities projects. Our leaders in the education sector have delivered outstanding results ranging from the addition of specific learning facilities to existing establishments to the masterplan and development of larger educational institutions.
The most recently completed project is the Nihon University in Newcastle NSW, designed by Japanese architect Azusa Sekkei in collaboration with dwp architects. Nihon University is a well known Japanese private university, which currently has one of the highest student populations, with the majority of campuses in Tokyo and surrounding areas. In 2016 the University acquired the former Newcastle courthouse as its inaugural international campus.
The main purpose of the campus is to provide a centre for the international language exchange program for existing Nihon University students. The adaptive reuse and refurbishment of the heritage building, adds considerable value to the community of Newcastle as the complex is positioned to become a cultural centre, promoting exchange at various levels.
The Campus involves the repurposing of the state heritage listed former Newcastle Courthouse (c1892), and the introduction of two new sympathetic built forms. The eastern residential wing addition is dedicated to student accommodation offering 108 beds, whilst the western wing addition is dedicated to providing educational spaces. The original courthouse building has been restored to house administration, conference and management facilities.
The main conceptual driver was to deliver an outcome that is sympathetic and aligned with the existing Courthouse building. A simple, expressive, timeless, symmetrical end product, with a touch of Japanese influence. The new built forms on either side of the Courthouse are clearly defined elements expressing the old and new.
The design has respectfully considered the local character and heritage through non-obtrusive elements, such as a simple, modest and timeless design, with a material and colour palette that compliments and respects the existing building and neighbourhood.
Keeping dwp’s drive for sustainable design in mind and in line with the company ethos of ‘design for a better world’ the team has carefully integrated multiple sustainability measures throughout the development of the Nihon University Campus. Particularly noteworthy is the adaptive re-use of the existing heritage building, retaining the embodied energy and lessening the ecological footprint. Other sustainability measures include waste reduction during construction and occupation, the creation of high quality indoor environment, energy and water efficient systems and fabric and green transport initiatives. The building has achieved a minimum 4 Star Green Star equivalency rating.
The Nihon University will greatly benefit Nihon staff and students by providing them with a facility that will open cultural exchange opportunities between Japan and Australia. The design creates a welcoming and equitable environment, promoting a diverse multicultural experience for users and the public. The campus will bring together people from wide ranging backgrounds and experiences, promoting international relationships to build a more inclusive community. The facility will be used as a cultural hub, creating the unique circumstance of adding value and improvement to the site, community and beyond.
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