Macquarie University Social Learning Space

Macquarie University has redeveloped their former library building as a series of social learning environments that can accommodate multiple ways of student working. Bennett and Trimble were one of three architects engaged by Macquarie University to produce unexpected and creative solutions to this project brief within three different spaces of the former library building. The project is designed for a three year lifespan following which the building will be redeveloped.

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Contemporary learning environments differ from traditional libraries in many ways. A single desk type has been replaced with a wide range of furniture to support a diverse range of individual and group learning practices. These include benches, carrels, meeting tables, pods, rooms, pin-up spaces and informal relaxation areas.


Our project joined these various elements together to form a large continuous work surface to accommodate the diverse range of learning modes. We hope that the big desk will not only support these individual and group activities but will also encourage broader student interaction and lead to a richer campus experience and environment.


The big desk is then bent and folded to form a continuous loop within the former library. This loop has been embedded with electrical and data cabling to allow students direct access to power and the internet. The desk has also be fitted with different forms of audio visual equipment to complement each specific working environment.


Our strategy relies on the insertion of furniture and removable elements such as curtains and partitions rather than fixed walls, glazing and offset ceilings. This approach offers a budget conscious solution that can be easily removed and reconfigured in other campus spaces when the former library is redeveloped.

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Macquarie University Construction

Photography: Peter Bennetts