The Union Court Revitalisation is undertaken in the context of approved Urban Design Guidelines and Urban Design Framework for the ANU Campus.

To bring the master plan for Union Court to life and create a great place, the project brings together the elements of ‘Product’, ‘Place’, ‘Program’, ‘People’ and ‘Planet’ as outlined below:

 People – the community who lives, works and visits Union Court

The success of the project is ultimately driven by people.

During the planning phase members of the ANU community as well as key stakeholders were invited to provide feedback about the revitalisation project and to ‘re-imagine’ the space where they live, work and visit.

Indigenous research and contextual story telling was undertaken with people and has been reflected in elements of the public realm design as well as informing the events programming in the precinct.

Planet – the impact and relationship with the natural environment

The project aspires to meet the sustainability challenges of the present and future through a holistic and comprehensive sustainability strategy and is targeting an ecological efficiency performance that is consistent with the ecological limits of the planet.

To achieve this vision, the project is utilising the concept of the Ecological Footprint and total life cycle carbon footprint. The Ecological Footprint is an evidenced based measure which calculates humanities demand on nature, giving an understanding of how much we have, how much we use, and who uses what and communicates it tangibly in terms of hectares per person (and Planet Equivalent).

A development that is estimated to have a planet equivalent score of one or less is considered to be truly sustainable. ANU recognises these ecological limits and this project has set a target of 0.5 planet equivalent performance, positioning it as a world’s best practice leader in the context of sustainable campuses.

In order to achieve this target, cutting edge sustainability measures will be applied across all aspects of the precinct with a focus on areas that make the greatest contribution to its ecological footprint. Elements for life cycle assessment include: land bio-capacity, materials of construction, infrastructure, operating energy, water and transport as well as consumption (i.e. operational expenditure and services).

Product – the land use mix down to the mix of retail

The Union Court ‘Product’ – is the public realm and landscaping treatments, shops, services, accomodation and key facilities that support connectivity, health and wellbeing and which weave together to create the diverse ‘meeting places’ spaces – nooks, mews, lawns.

Creating a range of public spaces that people love and that reflect the unique identity and rhythm of ANU life will be critical to the success of the project. These spaces will enrich the shared social and cultural life of the Univeristy and create a range of experiences that the on-campus and broader Canberra community can participate in and enjoy.

Place – the physical and tangible aspects of the location

The Urban Design Framework has been developed to guide the future development of the Union Court and University Avenue precinct. It is respectful of the heritage and pastoral quality of the campus and responds to the established context  and connections. The Framework is underpinned by a series of ‘big ideas’ that will drive the delivery of a great urban place, meet the needs and aspirations of the campus community and engage more effectively with the rest of Canberra.

  1. learning and innovation ecologythat clusters new teaching and learning environments, innovation spaces and asignature library and learning commons around Union Courtas a social focus,
  2. An urban village modelthat creates a network of high quality third spaces, delivering a diversity of experiences and interactions that encourage a shared social, cultural and academic life within a vibrant network of streets and open spaces,
  3. An urban lifestylewithin a walkable mixed-use precinct that provides places of compression and aggregation in a human scale environment where buildings frame the streets,
  4. Integrating natureand celebrating the living systems of the site including its social heritage. Extending the natural landscape into key buildings and creating areas of recreation and contemplation,
  5. Accessible, connected and legible, the framework establishes clear points of access and gateways, a loop road and a fine grain grid network,
  6. Extending the Griffin legacyby strengthening the main axis of University Avenue and introducing the grid of streets and laneways that knit into the established road network
  7. Creating destinations for campus and townthrough the generous provision of cultural, recreational and programmable spaces that become a platform for events and experiences that engage the University with its community.

Programme – the events and uses that activate the space

A year round liveliness and programme of activities and events will be a feature of the revitalised Union Court to make sure it is an attractive destination for both the University and the wider Canberra community all year round.

Union Court will provide space for events and activities to come together in one place and will be managed in a way that will simplify the process of organising events in the precinct.