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A next-gen smart campus on the rise

The Foundation Building in the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Bay campus fosters a sense of student community through its forward-thinking design and intelligent choice of materials.

A next-gen smart campus on the rise

The culmination of years of planning by the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the Moreton Bay Regional Council, USC’s Moreton Bay campus has been set up to provide a full-service university campus for an area the size of Brisbane. The opening of the three-storey, state-of-the-art Foundation Building, designed by Hassell Studio, marked the beginning of the new campus in 2020, accommodating around 1,500 students immediately and up to 5,000 in the first three years.

The Foundation Building is designed to be super flexible, welcoming students as well as the local community. Spanning more than 16,000m2 of floor space, it is loaded with technology-enabled collaborative and interactive learning spaces complemented by adaptable hands-on labs. It also features a large lecture theatre, student centre, library, food and beverage spaces and multi-deck car park –  all designed to cater to a rapidly growing student population.

The Foundation Building revolves around the ​‘Rise’, a two-storey stepped amphitheatre for informal learning, with an adjacent 24-hour library and concierge-style student services plus social spaces on the levels above. The Rise is ringed by the primary circulation system that features a diverse choice of settings, from intimate alcoves to brainstorming walls and project spaces.

As the beating heart of student life, the Rise needed to reflect a sense of belonging, warmth and community. To achieve this, the designers sought to deliver a natural yet refined aesthetic using a single material element as a floor, wall and ceiling finish. Tongue n Groove’s Massivo wide format timber boards allowed the designers to maintain this singularity and fulfil the client’s brief, while still meeting strict technical and performance requirements.

Using sustainable methods that utilise more of the oak tree, Tongue n Groove timber boards are crafted with three layers of cross-laminated solid European oak, resulting in a product of superior quality, strength and integrity. Due to the superior structure of its engineered timber, Tongue n Groove are able to offer wider and longer format boards than anyone else on the market, all without compromising the stability of the boards or their Group 3 Fire Rating.

New to their collection, Tongue n Groove’s Massivo boards are available in greater widths (300, 360 and 400mm) and greater lengths (up to 5m) than standard boards, opening up a range of design possibilities.

The Rise features Massivo boards in the classic Eterno style on its floors, walls and ceiling lining, and on its bespoke rise and stairs. The designers opted for the Freado colour finish, its light honey tone remaining true to the original European oak colour and providing natural warmth to the Rise’s communal gathering area. Part of its unique appeal, Massivo’s wide format boards helped minimise lines and joins throughout the space, delivering a clean finish that brought a sense of flow and cohesion to the Rise’s refined, modern aesthetic.

The selection of Tongue n Groove boards was a key part of the project’s aesthetic. The Massivo range was not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also complied with the myriad of technical requirements for educational spaces, including Group 3 Fire Rating, surface durability, maintenance and slip ratings. The use of wide format boards throughout this unique-style seating application also ensured minimal waste of material.

Drawing in students and the local community from day one, the Rise is an example of how smart material selection can transform and enliven modern learning spaces.

Tongue n Groove


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