Four student housing towers to rise up round UNSW


Student accommodation provider Scape Australia has lodged plans for four separate student housing tower developments designed by four architecture firms around the University of New South Wales, on the Country of the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation.

The towers will be located along Anzac Parade in Kensington and Kingsford, where Randwick council’s recently passed the K2K planning framework proposal allows for towers up to 18 storeys. Together, they will house 1,528 boarding rooms.

The largest of the developments, home to 564 boarding rooms and costing $93 million, will be built at 111-125 Anzac Parade, on Todman Square intersection. Designed by SJB, it will comprise a cluster of three towers atop a shared base with community, communal and retail functions. “The base is rich and warm, drawing inspiration from the red brick common to Kensington,” SJB states in planning documents. “It forms a diverse jumble of pedestrian scale forms, encouraging the public into the laneways and plazas which proliferate [on] the ground plane.”

The accommodation towers above, meanwhile, are designed to be simple and restrained with “quieter elements which gracefully land on the brick podium.”

Each tower will have its own subtle character, with variations in façade breakup and colouring defining the presence of each form. The tallest of the towers will rise to 19 storeys.

At 182-190 Anzac Parade, another 19-storey tower designed by Plus Architecture will house 381 boarding rooms. Its form will split into two to reduce the overall appearance of bulk, with a central recess that allows space for landscaped balconies.

“The sculpted glass façade will reflect the sky, clouds and sunset in a crystalline manner to add additional interest to the poetic form,” state the architects.

Another 19-storey tower housing 179 boarding rooms will be built at 172-180 Anzac Parade. Designed by BVN, it will rise above existing heritage shop buildings facing Anzac Parade, which are listed as contributory items. BVN’s scheme includes the insertion of a “microplaza” behind these buildings. “The retained elements are able to be read as volumes within the new urban composition (rather than just façades) with the intent to build an authentic layering of place,” state BVN.

The exsiting masonry of the heritage buildings will be maintained, bagged and painted to enable the altered building form to remain a consistent materiality.

Above this, a tower clad in lightweight perforated metal screens will act as a counterpoint to the masonry shop fronts. “The perforations will add depth and dynamic quality as one moves around the building and the sun casts changing light conditions,” state the architects.

Finally, across the street at 391-397 Anzac Parade, PTW Architects has designed an 18-storey tower to include 399 boarding rooms. PTW’s design splits the built form into two distinct elements: the low, open podium and the “highly sculptural and animated” tower above, which cantilevers over the podium.

The four developments together will cost an estimated $281 million. Despite the collapse in international student numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Scape executive chairman Craig Carracher said he was optimistic about the student accommodation sector’s future.

“In a post-COVID world, the weight of demand from across Asia, Europe and South America will rise again from students seeking a world-class education in Australia,” he said.

“The opportunity to continue to develop and invest in innovation and academic centres of excellence is a once in a generation opportunity.”



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