In summary

  • Striking new renders have been unveiled for Swinburne’s new Latelab and student hub
  • The renders are the result of a collaborative design process with students through a series of workshops, forums and online surveys
  • New Latelab and student hub is one of eight next gen_campus projects being developed across Swinburne’s Hawthorn, Wantirna and Croydon campuses

Months of collaboration with Swinburne University of Technology students have culminated in striking renders being unveiled for the new Latelab and student hub as part of next gen_campus.

The Latelab and student hub will span across the four-storey 27 John St building at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus, which will be completely redeveloped as part of the project including expansion of floor space.

The work up of floor area uses and preliminary designs reflect the feedback provided by Swinburne’s diverse community of students through a series of workshops and online surveys and polls.

The new Latelab is one of many projects across Swinburne’s Hawthorn, Wantirna and Croydon campuses that form the next gen_campus project. 

Light and sound were key themes that came up during the collaborative design process.

Function and accessibility a focus in collaborative design process

Melbourne-based architecture firm Kosloff Architecture was appointed earlier this year to lead the design process for the new Latelab and student hub.

The work up of potential functional usage and design options have been informed by the input of students  on everything from layout, types of spaces and  interior styling options.

Light and sound were key themes that came up during the collaborative design process, with experience in the current Latelab providing a foundation for improvements to be realised in the new space.

The space will be developed with the aim of making the space welcoming, accessible and functional for all students.

Students who have participated in the co-creation of the new development were particularly interested in ways to segment quiet and collaborative learning and study spaces to ensure there are opportunities for a variety of uses in the building.

The provision of mixed use seating and access to charging ports are also key suggestions reflected in the designs that will be presented later this year.

Swinburne Chief Operating Officer Nancy Collins said that it was important for the university to strongly engage with a wide variety of students and ensure their ideas were considered and bought to life where possible in the context of the university’s urban design framework given this is a dedicated student space.

“It was really encouraging to see the way students considered their personal experiences and what was important to them as part of a positive campus environment that enhanced their overall student experience,” she said.

“We heard plenty of next gen_ideas about reducing consumption of non-renewable resources, lower waste, and creating a productive, healthy, and sustainable environment.

“This innovative thinking really embodies what Swinburne strives for when it comes to future-focused thinking that can have real-world impacts, particularly given our commitment to be net zero carbon by 2025.”

Design options for the new 24/7 Latelab and business case will be presented to the University Council, Swinburne’s governing body, for approval in late 2023. Following approval, construction will commence with the project expected to be finished in early 2025.

The new designs have been informed by students' experience in the current Latelab.

Co-creating next gen_campus

The new Latelab and student hub is in parallel to development of Swinburne’s new Campus Heart, to be constructed on the current site, between the Library and BA buildings post finalisation of the Latelab.

Campus Heart, the centrepiece of next gen_campus, will be Swinburne’s ‘learning and social engine’, featuring collaborative and hybrid work and event spaces.

Swinburne Interim Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Education, Experience and Employability, Professor Pip Pattison said it was an exciting time for all students with next gen_campus underway.

“We’re proud of the way our students have already jumped at the opportunity to make real and lasting impacts here at Swinburne through the collaborative design process we’re undertaking with next gen_campus,” Professor Pattison said.

“Together, we are creating our campuses for the future, where people and technology work together to build a better world.”

“This is only the beginning, so we encourage all students to take up the opportunity to take part in the process of designing and building these transformative projects in the weeks and months to come.”

The new Latelab and student hub will provide additional safe and secure space for students to study, and is accessible 24 hours a day.

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