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ACU lays out its future growth plans

Australian Catholic University (ACU) have begun the process of major renewal for their Fitzroy campus by way of seeking development plan approval for a comprehensive overhaul that will cater for expanding student and staff numbers.

Currently before Yarra City Council and created in conjunction with architecture firm Lyons, the development plan is set to act as a guide for future planning permit applications covering approximately half the sprawling site which has principal frontages to both Victoria Street and Brunswick Street.

115 Victoria Street which also fronts Napier Street encompasses the first stage of the campus development, with a new multi-level building set to replace a current at-grade car park.

Aeriaql perspective of ACU's Fiztroy campus. Planning image: ACU

Up to seven basement car park levels will replace the existing 50 car parking spaces onsite, with 15 levels expected above. The lower floors of the tower will be dedicated toward teaching and learning purposes, with office and conference absorbing the remaining space.

115 Victoria Street is also expected to be linked to the adjoining Mary Gowery Building, with 5 additional levels to that building also in the works. Also on the agenda is an air bridge that will connect the revamped Mary Gowery Building with ACU's most recent build, the Daniel Mannix Building which was completed during 2012.

A low-rise building fronting Young Street and Little Napier Street is also slated for construction as part of the development plan.

Outlined in the above aerial but not covered in the current development plan is 81-89 Victoria Parade which currently sees modular tutorial rooms in place. The prime site on the corner of Brunswick and Victoria site is also expected to eventually hold a tower, with previous approval in place for a 14 level mixed-use development which was never acted upon.

Expected massing for 115 Victoria Street. Planning image: ACU

Hand in hand with ACU's new built form will be a fundamental change to the precinct's ground level format in order to facilitate a better public realm experience.

Vehicle access may be altered to both Young Street and Napier Street while a new internal campus hub will be created at ground level within the precinct, in order to facilitate improved pedestrian movements around the campus and link the campus together and to the surrounding street network. ACU expects this will provide a safer and more inviting environment.

The campus hub will be at the intersection of north-south and east-west spines which will act as pedestrians thoroughfares. A comprehensive landscape master plan has also been created for the campus.

It's expected that changes to ACU's Fiztroy campus are to be implemented over the next decade.

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