UTAS Stone & Architecture Buildings Revitalisation


The University of Tasmania are in the early stages of the $300 million Northern Transformation, with particular focus being drawn to one of the precincts located in Inveresk, also historically known as Launceston Railway Workshops Precinct. This multi-staged development in Launceston, sees new builds being dotted throughout the newly landscaped site alongside existing, heritage listed buildings. Xsquared Architects, in collaboration with BVN Architecture, are delighted to announce their partnership with UTAS to help create a respectful proposal to revitalise teaching spaces and facilities within the Architecture and Design, and Stone buildings within the heritage precinct.


Directly adjacent to UTAS Stadium, the Architecture & Design building, formerly known as the Diesel Locomotive Workshop, had previously been converted into teaching spaces for School of Architecture and Design (A&D) students and later, an addition for the Fine Furniture students (now obsolete). The refurbishment was executed by Sustainable Built Environments and Six degrees Architects. Much the same and formally known as the Main Machine Shop, the Stone building had previously been converted into teaching spaces for the School of Creative Arts and Media (CAM), and Fine Arts and Design students. The Stone building adjoins to Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.


Xsquared Architects, BVN Architecture and UTAS have undergone exhaustive consultation with particular focus on creating a shared vision to the precinct, internally and externally. Both buildings seek to include collaborative spaces for a plethora of disciplines, including but not limited to: College of Arts, Law & Education, College of Sciences & Engineering, Tasmanian School of Business & Economics, College of Health & Medicine, surrounding precinct users, and as too for additional and corresponding UTAS workplaces.


Minimal alterations to both building envelopes allow further focus for creating an internal re-fit to achieve increased internal activity. Internally, both buildings showcase numerous existing, suspended cranes and expansive concrete support trusses which create unique foci to the surrounding spaces, both existing and new. Where possible, floorplates and large enclosed spaces are retained, and when required, floorplates are extended within existing voids too create additional and essential area. Due to the long list of disciplines to be included within the existing buildings, Xsquared Architects and BVN Architecture generated a great deal of spatial planning to ensure activities respond appropriately to their functions and neighbouring arrangements. Minimal external works recognise historical and local attributes to the exterior by creating respectful insertions into the fabric and further allow for adjacent connections to new and existing precinct buildings.


The modern proposals are a light-touch and ensures both physical and visual permeability to be achieved. Each building showcases unique materialistic qualities and are specific to each building. Therefore, the project has required heavy involvement of an Environmentally Sustainable Development consultant to ensure the project is committed to Green Star and WELL Building frameworks, focus on a reduced carbon footprint, pursue a whole life carbon investigation in parallel with the development of the design and the pursuit of sustainability opportunities, and reduce carbon impact. This ESD approach puts the design work at the forefront of best practice and makes a positive contribution to a broad community with a carbon neutral built environment in mind.


Xsquared Architects are a lead Tasmanian consultant in collaboration with BVN Architecture, and are expecting a completion date of 2022 for the former A&D building, and 2023 for the Stone Building.