LocationMacquarie University, Sydney NSW 2109
Project TeamGeorgia Singleton, Alan Duffy, Jo Dane, Kori Todd, Danny Wehbe, Danny Chan, Chang Liu
Manufacturers / SuppliersHilite industries for the metal ceilings and Stylecraft for the rubber furniture
Construction Budget$1.5 million
A temporary student space at Macquarie University, MUSE was created to encourage student interaction and collaborative learning. The design of the space was one of three temporarily constructed over two floors of a vacant Brutalist library building on the Sydney campus.
Prior to concept, the design team conducted an extensive student consultation process, including a web-based survey, workshops and interactive presentations, using the feedback as a key driver of the project.
The result is a dynamic space that can be used for group learning or individual contemplation, with students given the opportunity to experience the space through different configurations.
Centred on the idea that learning takes place somewhere between the panic zone and the comfort zone, the design creates an agitated space perfect for fostering creativity and learning.
Engineered to shift and change, MUSE is a creative environment that is collaborative and engaging in nature, encourages serendipitous encounters with an aesthetic that draws on raw and recycled materials from the industrial and natural world.
MUSE facilitates a new, fluid mode of learning, with walls and lighting running on tracks. The space is supported technologically to facilitate next-generation, student-centric learning.
This mutable, adaptable learning environment is designed to enhance students’ educational, social, intellectual and cultural experience of studying at Macquarie University.
The name MUSE – or Macquarie University Spatial Experience – evokes the goddesses who preside over the arts and science, and the act of thinking itself. The name and brand was created by the design team for this particular part of the project, and then was ultimately used for the entire project.
Existing materials were retained as a preservation and reminder of the former life of the building.
All desktops from the old library were reused, repurposed as active wall shutters on mobile walls, and the original services cupboard doors were also given new life.
Other materials were revealed by stripping back added finishes and exposing the beautifully-crafted concrete structure along the facade line, as well as the engineered column capitals throughout the space.
Reflecting the era of customisation, the design team created modular rubber furniture which is capable of being used in different ways like building blocks. They can be disassembled and reassembled to suit the students’ desired configurations.
Maximising natural daylight in the space was a key driver for providing light-filled study areas with views. This has been proven to have positive effects on occupant comfort and wellbeing. A visual connection to the external square and beautiful eucalyptus trees influenced the MUSE garden location.