Published: 09 July 2008
Green is the language of UQ’s $54M facility
Water harvesting, solar panels and a strategic shading system are among the environmentally sustainable features of The University of Queensland's newest smart building.
The V-shaped, General Purpose North 4 (GPN4), at the estimated cost of $54 million, will include an Australian-first Advanced Concepts Teaching Space (UQ ACTS), a Collaborative Teaching and Learning Space and will be the new home of the Institute for Continuing and TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ)
UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield said the building set the pace for Australian university learning space design.
“It includes an interactive lecture theatre and a “third generation” collaborative teaching and learning centre focussed on postgraduate students with busy work schedules,” Professor Greenfield said.
“Together these spaces will encourage levels of student-teacher interaction seen nowhere else in Australia.
“For example the 100-seat lecture theatre (ACTS) will enable students to give instantaneous feedback, so a teacher can know immediately if a student is struggling to grasp a concept or is losing interest.
“Used to full effect, this technology can give a large class the personalised quality of a small tutorial.”
The building's environmental features match its student-friendly innovations.
The building maximises natural light and has 10kw rooftop solar cells, automatic controls or movement sensors for internal lighting and air-conditioning, efficient light fittings, and windows that add to energy efficiency.
Underground tanks (up to 220,000 litres) will hold enough rainwater and run-off for the building's landscaping and non-potable water needs.
Professor Greenfield said that UQ's capacity to build GPN4 was significantly due to the business strength of ICTE-UQ and the success of its director, Ms Christine Bundesen, and her team.
The self-funding ICTE-UQ is the building's main resident, with almost 4200 square metres of floorspace.
ICTE-UQ is this year estimated to generate $20 million in revenue, largely from provision of international English language and English teacher training, English language testing, customised continuing and professional education.
More than 6000 international and domestic students, teachers, tourists, working holiday makers, professionals and employees from more than 35 countries participated in ICTE-UQ programs and quality support services in 2007.
Ms Bundesen said the new headquarters featured stand-up email terminals in teaching floor lobbies, a dedicated learning centre with three multi-media laboratories, and IT facilities integrated in all teaching rooms and shared learning spaces.
A 200-seat auditorium and multi-function Terrace Room will accommodate orientations, lectures, workshops, presentations, events and functions.
“ICTE-UQ students and program participants will have access to world-class facilities and resources,” Ms Bundesen said.
“The technology and the collaborative facilities will greatly enhance teaching and training by, and professional development of, ICTE-UQ staff.
“Our new capacity to deliver programs in a single location will greatly enhance service provision and cross-cultural engagement.”
Additional student advantages from GPN4 include:
• Access to individual touch-screens to capture classroom interactions onto iPods, laptops, personal organisers and mobile phones;
• Two types of electronic whiteboard technology including the use of plasma monitors with touch sensitive facilities;
• Pods for up to 10 students with metre-wide screens that pop-up and retract depending on the teaching mode.
GPN4 was designed by Richard Kirk Architect and ML Design (in association).
UQ Chancellor Sir Llew Edwards will officially open General Purpose North 4 on the corner of University
Drive and Campbell Road, St Lucia, on July 14 at 11am.
Media: Eliza Plant at UQ Communications (07 3365 2619).
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