The vitality and competitiveness of higher education institutions now largely hinges on the importance of defining learning space in terms of the quality and richness of the student experience. The purpose of the project was to create a Student Experience Hub” within the existing McLeod House, building on successful core principles learnt from the ‘Hub Central’ Project (on the North Terrace Campus) and providing an equitable student-centred environment for Waite Campus students.

The Waite Student Hub is located in the lower ground floor of the existing McLeod House and was stripped out and re-purposed to accommodate a multi-zone student-centred hub environment catering to social learning, indicidual study, group work, student services touch points, recreation space, print space, a small gymnasium and food prep area.

ASHLEY HALLIDAY was selected for this project based on Ashley’s experience working on the ‘Hub Central’ project and the practices considerable experience with adaptive reuse projects – these types of projects requiring a synthesis of architectural, interior design and engineering services coordination skills.

The Waite Student Hub has unique character and charisma responding to the common profile of Waite Students – more mature aged and focused on plant and agriculture-based research streams. The labyrinth of orthogonal shaped spaces were interconnected and unified to create a free flowing hub environment through a series of subtle design strategies including the introduction of coloured curvilinear wall and floor patterns, darkening the ceiling and installing a rhythm of suspended black light strips beneath the blackened services ducts and conduits to reduce the amount of visual noise. Flexible, self-organising spaces were introduced to this backdrop using a variety of different furniture settings including playful, comfortable and durable seating table and elements and the provision of ubiquitous recharge points. The unique identity of the Waite Hub was reinforced using painted wall supergraphics featuring text and images directly relevant to the wine and agriculture themes prevalent on campus.