Born out of the rapid population and geographic expansion of the 1950’s and 1960’s, Flinders University has always reflected emerging social, cultural and economic trends. The Bedford Park campus and its fundamental principles were radical in the context of Adelaide society. Its urban design and architecture and the interaction with the Australian landscape presented a fresh face to the world and created a distinct identity for Flinders University.
From the beginning, the Plaza and Union Building were places for the University community to come together, celebrate, relax, work and play. After an eventful 50 years, and in the changing face of University life, these spaces were no longer fully servicing the needs of the University community to their full extent. In 2014 Flinders University commenced a redevelopment of this campus heart into the brand new Plaza and Student Hub, realising the precinct’s capacity. The project involved a complete refurbishment of the Union building, extending it into the Central Library, a revitalised retail and entertainment precinct alongside, and a new front door to the University.
A comprehensive student engagement project was undertaken to determine the key needs of students and staff and to inform the concept design process, and these groups were consulted extensively throughout the build to ensure users’ needs were met.
While the project promised a major improvement in services and space for staff and students upon completion, it turned the University’s central gathering area and student services building into a building site, removing familiar student and staff spaces for gathering, eating and socialising. Throughout the redevelopment Flinders worked hard to engage current staff, students and future students visiting the campus in the project, by providing detailed information at all stages, providing a clear vision of the finished product, working to minimise the negative impacts of construction and building an excited culture of looking forward to the future.
The Flinders University Bedford Park campus is located in an unparalleled landscape setting with stunning views across Adelaide and towards the coast charted by our namesake Matthew Flinders. Our new Plaza and Student Hub aims to build on these qualities, by embracing our landscape setting and providing opportunities to enjoy it at every turn. The architecture of the Hub celebrates openness and connection with the outside, working on principles of collaboration and intuitive design.
Opening of the Plaza and Student Hub coincides almost 50 years to the day since Flinders University was opened, symbolising the University moving into its next 50 years as a progressive institution that underpins the economic, cultural and educational life of South Australians.