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The Crawley Campus is considered one of the most beautiful in the world and since it's establishment great care has been taken to prepare periodic development plans to establish principles to underpin the quality of the campus.
An international competition was used to find designs for the Hackett Memorial Buildings, of which Winthrop Hall is the centrepiece.
These buildings responded well to the Wilkinson Plan in 1927 and became the exemplar of future campus architecture. The grandeur of composition, richness of detail and colour of the buildings have set a formidable design standard for subsequent development.
In the main, later development has respected the qualities of the original buildings and the University enjoys a campus with a totality of design rare on campuses developed over a period of time and under a variety of influences.
The architectural success of the campus has been achieved by various buildings, each successful architectural statements in their own right, yet being designed to be compatible with their neighbours. Examples at Crawley of where the University has diverged from its simple contextual design approach include the Physics, Chemistry and Engineering Buildings, in the 1960s.
Campus buildings free from passing fashions achieve individual merit by contributing to the success of the total campus, and to depart significantly from the established image and maintain architectural integrity may be impossible. A test of this is to ask if proposed buildings are timeless through their architectural qualities and their contribution to the overall campus. Matters of overall style are paramount: whether fashion is followed, or architectural integrity is maintained by staying with the established direction of prior Plans.
In 2002, the University built its second major building off-campus at 7 Fairway (the Ken and Julie Michael Building). Designed by Steve Woodland (Cox Howlett & Bailey Woodland,) the building re-interprets the campus aesthetic while introducing different materials and an architectural form influenced by the original commercial function of the building and local planning constraints. On campus buildings are not subject to rules such as set backs and height restrictions. Colonnades on the building help link the building back from the ‘High Street’ to the campus, as does the use of Winthrop Tower as an end vista. There will be many more University buildings built between campus and Broadway, and 7 Fairway is seen to be an urban planning exemplar of meeting University and community expectations.
Directions 2031 classifies UWA/QEII as a Specialised Strategic Centre, and signals improvements in public transport and the need for higher density development, possibly setting minimum densities as well as maximum. Buildings of greater scale will be considered for both on- and off-campus sites, though increased height should not unduly overshadow landscaped and other spaces
In 1959, Gordon Stephenson recommended that it was undesirable to make provision for undergraduate classes in buildings beyond the third level. While this has not been adopted as a principle, it is preferable that the entry level of a teaching building on campus is the location of major undergraduate activity.
The provision of mixed-use buildings is encouraged in Directions 2031 as a means of enlivening streets and sharing resources such as car parking. Off-campus buildings, or those on the perimeter of campus, particularly fronting ‘active’ streets such as Broadway and Hampden Road, have the opportunity to interact with the community, through the use of ground floor retailing or university uses, with research or residential accommodation on the other floors.
Some sites on campus are more architecturally significant than others. The Reid Library, for instance, is located in the Great Court opposite Winthrop Hall. The building is prominent in its architecture, scale and use. The siting of the Business School (2009) on the southern edge of campus not only gave the Faculty prominence, but also helped restore balance to a campus focused on the Hackett Memorial Buildings at the northern end. A new roundabout and entrance off Hackett Drive gave additional prominence to the Business School, which now fulfils a similar ‘anchor’ role to the campus as Winthrop Hall.