The University of Tasmania’s new Launceston campus has reached a milestone on 28th July 2023 with the opening of the River’s Edge, a state-of-the-art learning and teaching facility for students and staff in the North.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said it was exciting to see the second major building of the new campus at Inveresk come alive in Semester 2 after years of planning and construction.
“This campus is an important investment to expand access to outstanding education and research in the North for generations to come,” Professor Black said.
“Education provides access to opportunities and jobs that help people change their lives. If we want a more equal society where people get a fair go they need to be able to access higher education. It provides the key to unlock most of the jobs of the future. We want all Tasmanians to have those opportunities.”
The $45.5m million River’s Edge development was part of the Northern Transformation Program, funded through the Launceston City Deal, with contributions from the Australian and Tasmanian Governments, City of Launceston and the University.
The building is now home to Humanities, Social Sciences, Law, Education and Business, while supporting students with study spaces across all disciplines.
It offers student counselling, accessibility and learning support and hosts the Riawunna Centre for Aboriginal Education.
It also includes a hub for students studying Higher Degrees by Research, a recording studio, parenting room and a variety of classrooms and computer labs.
The building was designed with input from over 150 students, staff and the community members as part of a co-design process.
To support modern teaching, classroom style spaces which are digitally enabled have been chosen to support face-to-face learning.
Senior Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences Nicholas Hookway said he was excited about being in a building that was not only beautiful but also fit for how we now work and teach.
“I teach first year Sociology with a large cohort of students, and I can’t wait to teach them here – it’s a place our staff and students can feel proud; a place where students will want to be,” Dr Hookway said.
“The connection to the city and the wider community is clear too. With buildings visible and publicly accessible, this provides new and exciting ways for our research and teaching to connect with business, community organisations and the wider public.”
Designed by Wardle Studio and built by local firm Fairbrother, the four-storey River’s Edge building elegantly uses the industrial language of the buildings while it opens out to the spectacular views of the lakekeller/the North Esk river and the mountains to the east.
Featuring extensive use of Tasmanian timber, the building was constructed with 32.5 percent less embodied carbon than similar projects setting nationally lead benchmark in low carbon building in line with the University’s globally recognised commitment to sustainability.
Professor Black said the new campus was designed to celebrate and enhance Launceston’s historic and much-loved Inveresk precinct for the whole community.
“Wardle Architects, Fairbrother’s many fine craftspeople and all the trades who worked on this build have created a truly great piece of architecture. It is a truly beautiful place for students, staff and the community alike. It is celebration of so much that makes Launceston one of the world’s great regional cities.”
The River’s Edge follows the opening last year of the Library, a new facility that has been warmly welcomed by the community and shortlisted for a national architecture award.
The next major transition of students and staff from Newnham to Inveresk will be in late-2024, into The Shed on Willis Street with a focus on Sciences, Allied Health and Nursing.