Everything old is new again on the streets of downtown Hobart, with the official opening of the freshly refurbished campus of the University of Tasmania’s School of Nursing & Midwifery. Combining all the charm of early 20th century architecture with the comforts and energy-efficiency of 21st century design and technology, the building is now an epicentre of learning for a whole new generation of future nursing professionals.
Following World War II, the heritage site became virtually derelict when the university moved its campus away from the centre of Hobart. That is, until architect Brian Locke was commissioned to redesign the building and breathe new life into its deserted corridors.
“In the last few years there’s been a push to bring the university back into the city and so they [the University of Tasmania] decided to bring functions like the School of Nursing & Midwifery and also health functions to this site.” There were a number of challenges, the first being adapting a heritage building to accommodate new demands.
Part of the brief also involved connecting the school with an adjacent building via a link, the provision of a lift and ramps for accessibility. The decision was made to use contrasting materials and a limited colour palette. The walls of the link were left exposed on both sides and the old timber beams were lovingly restored to minimise the intrusion on the site. The windows, however, posed a different problem.
“Windows have been fairly simple to make up until the last 20 years,” says Locke. “Now they’re becoming high-tech so, in the new link, because it was transparent, we had the energy problem of Tasmania being cold in the winter and hot in the summer, so we decided to use the double-glazed thermal break, commercial system. The ThermalHEART™ product allowed the benefits of energy conservation.
Local manufacturer, Glass Supplies, renowned for manufacturing to the highest standard, provided the windows and doors for this project.
Fabricator: Glass Supplies Pty Ltd
Architect: Brian Locke
Photographer: Chris Cerar