20A new six storey building on the edge of Edith Cowan University’s Joondalup Campus just north of Perth adds 127 beds and new common facilities to the university’s existing student village.

Designed by Allen Jack+Cottier’s (AJ+C), the new building was seen as part of an “old city wall” that defines the eastern edge of the campus, and marks the transition from the urban context of the university, to the sparse and harsh bushland and landscape across the road.

“This is conceived as ‘a building on the edge of the landscape’ – the point at which civilisation meets an ancient land,” describes AJ+C Principal and Design Director, Michael Heenan.

“In design terms, it both addresses and engages with its context, and turns its gaze inward, providing comfort and shelter to its occupants in an unforgiving climate.”

Straddling two very different environments with daytime summer temperatures averaging 32 degrees Celsius, the building features two faces. The eastern half is made of face brick, with corbelled courses, raked beds and panels of contrasting glazed brick evoking the weathered quality of an old city wall.

In contrast, the architectural expression of the western half, which looks back over at the campus, responds to the university’s “vibrant, modern nature” playfully. Irregular sized windows with coloured and angled sunshades imprint bold patterns on the façade – a world away from the sober expression of the eastern face.

Towards the north, a ‘tower’ visually counterpoints the Chancellery building on the other side of campus, whilst providing an orientation point as the new social centre of the student village. Common areas such as a pool, deck, kitchen and recreation rooms are located on this end, with two double height common spaces featured in the tower.