Macquarie University Mitchell Building exterior

One of the oldest structures on Macquarie University’s campus – the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s Mitchell building – has been transformed into a sustainable workspace for the next generation of academics.


The brief was to create an energy and space efficient contemporary workspace that encourages collaboration, while also respecting the building’s historical, social and aesthetic significance.

Design response

Macquarie University Mitchell Building interior

The existing fabric of the building has been revitalised, improving the building’s appearance and street presence, as well as creating a sense of arrival to the university’s main courtyard.

A new three-storey glazed atrium has also been added, creating a physical link between the eight-storey Mitchell (A7A) building and the adjacent E7B. The atrium provides space for individual research and has been designed to promote chance encounters and collaborative learning. A multi-functional seminar space has also been included on the rooftop.

Macquarie University Mitchell Building interior detail

Sustainability features

To support the university’s One Planet ecological footprint target, sustainability was a key focus for the project. Sustainable features include:

  • Retention of the existing facade, significantly reducing carbon impact
  • The use of high performance glazing to reduce solar heat gain
  • Natural ventilation use maximised throughout

“The renewal and space upgrade of the Mitchell building is a perfect example of the benefits of retrofitting rather than rebuilding,” says Andrew Duffin, design director at NBRS.

“By unlocking the potential of the existing building, we have provided a more sustainable, comfortable and productive workspace for the next generation of academics.”   

Macquarie University Mitchell Building exterior night