22 December, 2008

The finishing touches - NCV set to open 5th January 2009

: This is an old post, the NCV opened on the5th January 2009

With just days till the handover of the NCV the final touches are being applied. The inside of the building is completed, the landscaping will be completed in a few days and the last few jobs such as final cleaning, distributing the soft furnishings and completing signage is almost done. The shots below show how wonderful the building looks. Note that the sign was affixed by abseiling down the main blade - not a job I would have liked.

We are still taking applications so it isn't too late to get a room in the finest university accommodation on this campus and probably at any Australian university.

Above: View of the acoustic screen and main Anzac Parade signage

Above: NCV South Eastern elevation

Above: The north eastern elevation of the NCV

Literally a million dollar feature of the NCV is its wonderful acoustic screen on the front of the building to ensure that the building is VERY quiet. It also serves as a major aesthetic element to the building. Below are some close-ups of this significant architectural feature.


13 December, 2008

First residents in just three weeks - APPLY NOW!

PLEASE NOTE: This is an old post, the NCV opened on the 5th January 2009

The first residents of New College Village will start arriving from the 5th January. While most residents won't arrive until February, a group of MBA and coursework masters students will start arriving in January. Applications have been flowing in steadily but we still have places, so apply now.

The building will be handed over to us next week (19th December) and we will be setting up all our systems in the week before Christmas.

The biggest development in the last week was the uncovering of the beautiful glass screen on the Anzac Parade side of the building. This acoustic screen is very effective (I've tested it!) and is designed so that residents on the Anzac parade side are able to have their windows open without hearing much outside noise.

In the last week I have been personally inspecting EVERY room as well as all community spaces to ensure that they are of the highest quality. I was struck again at just how many wonderful rooms we have in the building, all with their own character and features (see my previous post on choosing rooms, here). There are NO bad rooms at the NCV.

If you'd like more information on applications visit the NCV website (here).


05 December, 2008

Support at the NCV

The New College Village is meant to be a home away from home, not an apartment block. As a result, we will have strong support in place. This will take a number of forms:

Senior Residents (SRs)- the NCV will have a Senior Resident on each floor. These people will usually be upper year doctoral students who will take responsibility for a floor and its residents. The SR will be the person that you can go to with day-to-day questions, academic problems and issues. If they can't answer your questions they will know where to go to get the extra advice or support that you need.

Academic Tutors (ATs) - the NCV will also have residents who also serve as Academic Tutors. Their role will be to offer advice and support in relation to life on campus, how to negotiate and understand the various academic programs and courses on campus, where to go for academic help, rules and regulations about study at UNSW, and general advice about writing, research and meeting University assessment requirements.

The Master - I will live in the building and will be available to offer advice of an academic or personal nature. I am an Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and have extensive experience as a superviser of PhD and Masters students and have been an active research in the social sciences for over 30 years.

University support units - key staff at NCV will be able to direct you to the many units on campus that offer support to postgraduates students.

College Fellows - the College will have a variety of fellows who will have a relationship with the NCV. Fellows will visit the NCV to provide talks and seminars and offer general advice and support.

Residents - because the NCV will be a community it is hoped that residents will help each other. The building has been designed to facilitate inetraction and the various programs that we will have in place will also help to enable residents to support each other. Being part of the NCV will be a privilege. Part of each resident's repsonsibility will be to seek to support and help others.

New College has a long tradition of support to residents; we want each resident of the NCV to have the benefit of a community that offers help and support in many and varied ways.


23 November, 2008

New College Village to open in 6 weeks!

: This is an old post, the NCV opened on the 5th January 2009

The New College Village is nearing completion. An update on progress:

  • The interior of the building is virtually finished with final touches being made to painting, furniture being installed, signage being added and systems being tested.
  • The main central courtyard and rooftop terrace are taking shape with tiling and planting to start soon.
  • The external finishes are within 2-3 weeks of completion with the wonderful eatern glass facade the last element to be completed (should be in 2 weeks).
The building is looking magnificent with daily comments being made by everyone who sees it. As I wander the corridors I can envisage our vibrant community using the many great spaces that we've created. I'm also reminded that every part of the building has its own character and outlook - there are lovely views from every side of the building.

Here are some photographic highlights.

Above: Aerial shot of the Southern Facade from the L5 building (city skyline in background, 5km away)

Above: Close up of the southern facade

Above: Northern facade viewed from NIDA

Above: Rooftop terrace nears completion

Above: Inner central courtyard taking shape


06 November, 2008

Choosing your room @ NCV

1. How to choose your room?

Numbers of people have been asking for advice on which room or floor to choose in the New College Village. This is a hard question to answer because every part of the building has its own character, aspect and attractions. A few basic points to make:

  • All apartments are of comparable quality - some of the large apartments have living areas that have slightly different configurations, about 25% have balconies, and some bedrooms have balconies (at no extra cost). But essentially, the fit-out and facilities are identical in quality and inclusions.
  • This is a brand new building so every resident will be the first to use the rooms.
  • Every bedroom is air-conditioned and rooms that face western sun have awnings that can protect from any summer sun.
  • Every floor has more than one common room, at least one of which has a large flat screen television and both free to air and cable television.
  • Every room has access to high speed broadband internet.
  • Every floor has wide corridors and many other design features.
  • The building is thermally and acoustically well designed - so heat and noise will not be a problem even though the building is located ion a city environment.
  • Every floor has access to 2 elevators and three sets of stairs.
  • Every floor has a Senior Resident who is there to help build the community.
Some people have been asking whether the top floor could be hotter? The answer is no, the floor has well insulated ceilings and air-conditioning. An added advantage is that it has the best views.

Some have wondered whether some sides of the building will be more noisy. The answer is they shouldn't be because even on the side nearest to the busiest road the building has been designed to avoid this problem with a wonderful glass screen (that you can see through), which acts as an additional sound barrier. This is a feature that no other apartment block or accommodation has on this campus. Even rooms on the front side of the building have specially designed clear glass sound screens (see the photograph below). The building is very quiet inside with double walls throughout and extensive insulation.

Above: View of the South East corner (note glass sopund barriers on front windows)

2. So what are the special qualities of specific parts of the building?

I'll try to offer my insights into the building. Here are a few examples of floors and locations that are different and why.

(i) Apartments on the SE corner

While these apartments are on the busier Anzac Parade side, only one room in each apartment is on the road side and these rooms have windows facing away from the road. From the balconies off the living rooms you have great views across to the Village Green. Many studios on the eastern side of the building also have similar views and some have balconies. All have the advantage of the Glass screen to the front of the building with nice views of the campus and the private inner courtyard below.

Above: View from an apartment balcony on the SE corner

(ii) Apartments on the North West corner

These apartments have views to the leafy suburbs of Kensington or towards the city. They have some of the best city views in the buiding with most of the city skyline visible from many rooms. The pictures below show a typical city view from the top few floors and the second photo shows a view of the suburb of Kensington from the 4th floor (excuse the dirty window in this incomplete apartment).

Above: View from a North West facing apartment

Above: A 4th floor view to the West from an apartment living area.

(iii) Apartments on the South West Corner

What I like about the apartments on this side is that they have views over Kensington and on the top floor right to Botany Bay. The rooms also have bedrooms with nice views to the south and west.

Above: A typical view to the south west from apartments on the 4th to 7th floors

3. Other features worth noting in other building locations

There are also great advantages in being on other specific floors depending on your tastes and needs. For example:
  • Studios and apartments on the ground floor have the advantage of being close to the two key courtyards, the Main Common room, the games room, the business centre, reading room and offices. It's also a quick few steps to the convenience store in the building.
  • Studios and aprtments on the 4th floor have access from their corridors directly to the rooftop terrace with view of the city, outdoor furniture and built in barbeques.
  • North facing 2nd and 3rd floor stuidos will have the advantage of winter sun.
  • Some rooms face inwards to views of the inner courtyard while some face outwards to the various views mentioned above.
4. A few final points

I'm confident that there will be a room location to suit all people in this building and that you will almost need to live in the building to make your choice as to which is the 'best' location. Frankly, I don't think there is a BEST location, just DIFFERENT locations, all of which have many special qualities.

While we will endeavour to meet your requests, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to give you a room exactly where you want it. Of course after you've been with us for a session we may be able to move you if you decide you'd like to be in a different location within the building.

I'm confident that you'll love living in this bulding, I'm looking forward to doing so. I'll be on the ground floor facing south.

01 November, 2008

Why I'm going to Live at the NCV in 2009

Above: My wife Carmen (left) with me and the Governor of our State (NSW) Dame Marie Bashir, at a New College dinner

This is a brief post to introduce myself as Master and the Dean of the NCV in 2009. I am Master of New College and will responsible for both the old 'New College' and the new NCV. But in 2009 I intend to act as Dean of the NCV as well. My wife Carmen and I will be moving into the Dean's Apartment within the building in late January. We're excited about being part of this new community.
Below: Carmen reading to our grandaughter Elsie
Carmen and I have been maried for 37 years in January. We have two daughters (both married) and 5 grandchildren. There's a good chance you'll see my grandchildren at some stage around the NCV. They are aged 2 months to 6 years, and needless to say, I think they're wonderful. Carmen was trained as a teacher and spent almost 30 years teaching infants and primary-aged children. In more recent years she spent 5 years in a pastoral care role within our church; a role in which she gave care and support to people with varied needs and of varied ages. She 'retired' from full-time paid work about 7 years ago and now spends a lot of time in voluntary work, doing things in our church and caring for our daughters, grandchildren and me!

I started life as a teacher too and became fascinated by the way children learn, especially the way they learn language. I then moved to University education where I spent over 20 years as a professor and senior University manager before moving to New College in 2002. My last role before coming to New College was as Pro Vice-chancellor (Research) at another university where I was responsible for the university's research and postgraduate studies. At UNSW I have an adjunct appointment as Professor within the faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and am still active as a researcher and a scholar (in my spare time!) and supervise doctoral students at UNSW (you can check out my work at my personal website here).

Carmen and I are both keen to live in the NCV because we both want to be involved in forming what will be a wonderful community (see my earlier post on this here). I will do a post soon on some of the activities we have planned for in 2009. We look forward to meeting all of our residents in January to March. If you haven't applied yet, could I encourage you to do so as son as possible (online applications here).

Above: With Samuel (one of my grandsons who is aged 3 years) at a local wildlife park getting up close to a Koala


20 October, 2008

Latest aerial shots of the building

Here are two wonderful shots that show the emerging facades of the building, the closeness of the city and that give a hint of some of the great views to be had from the building on all sides.

Above: View of the Southern facade from the UNSW L5 building

Above: View of the Southern facade from the UNSW L5 building showing the city skyline in the background


15 October, 2008

A building emerges from the scaffolding

I haven't posted photos for s few weeks because most of the obvious progress on the building has been inside. And this progress has been significant. For example:
  • Carpetting up to level 4
  • Furniture being installed
  • Level 7 (last floor) walls completed and fit-out well advanced
  • Kitchens and built-in items largely installed
  • All major services (e.g Air conditioning) virtually completed
Outside the building progress is also good.
  • Balcony rails and awnings are being installed
  • All the facade finishes are well advanced
  • The acoustic screen on Anzac Parade is now being installed
Up to this stage, the outside of the building has been shrouded by the scaffolding; but as it is being slowly removed the beauty and scale of the building are obvious. I have received numerous comments from varied sources about just how good the building looks (well done Lipman and AJC). In the next few weeks the scaffolding will be completely down and the building's quality will be clearer.

The good news is that we are on track for completion before Christmas this year. Our first resident will arrive on January 5th 2009.

Here are some recent images.

Above: Northern elevation viewed from NIDA

Above: Eastern elevation, the acoustic screen is now being installed

Above: The north-eastern elevation from Anzac Parade

Above: Partial view of a studio Kitchenette (sink, cooktop, fridge, microwave)

Above: Bathroom fittings (all 316 bedrooms have a bathroom like this)


26 September, 2008

The importance of community

As I indicated in two previous posts (here and here), the New College Village will be more than just a place to live; it will be a strong postgraduate community. There are two main things that will help to ensure that this will be the case: strong programs and a well designed building. Each of these will facilitate opportunities to meet with others. The support programs will include regular social activities; an academic support program consistent with New College traditions; and strong pastoral care support from our well trained Senior Residents led by me as the Master living in the building with my wife Carmen.

The building itself has been carefully designed to facilitate opportunities for interaction that are essential to community building. Our aim in building the New College Village has been to create a unique community for postgraduate students enrolled at UNSW. Many universities around the world attempt to provide designated postgraduate accommodation (although very few in Australia). However, not many universities have seriously given priority to support and community building. Drawing on my own experience living in graduate housing in the USA and my knowledge of the best of the postgraduate colleges in the United Kingdom, I developed a design brief that sought to:

  • create spaces for residents to meet with each other in varied contexts - 2 common rooms on each floor with lounges, coffee making facilities and in 7 of these cable television; a large games room; two outdoor courtyards; a rooftop terrace; a reading room; a business centre; a main common room; a convenience store and barbecue facilities outdoors.
  • a design that ensures that as residents move through the building there are frequent mingling spaces;
  • a location close to key campus-based cafes, restaurants and the graduate lounge (just 100 metres away);
  • while offering residents the privacy of their own rooms and ensuites, all apartments and clusters of studio apartments have generous shared space for sharing meals or just spending time with other residents;
  • a well equipped business centre that is for the use of all residents to support you in your studies;
  • internet services that you'd expect in a modern building with data access to all rooms;
  • external design features that will ensure that this building has outstanding acoustic features, leading to quiet rooms.
The NCV will also have many other things going for it that will make life comfortable and interesting, including air-conditioned rooms; a special membership option for the outstanding University gymnasium and indoor pool (just 200 metres from the front door); a bus stop at the front door that provides access to all the sights of Sydney; some of the world's finest beaches a 20 minute walk away or a short direct bus ride.

Added to the obvious strengths of the building, and the many programs that will support community life, will be the 319 different people who will all be at UNSW to learn from each other. You will be living among postgraduate students from every Australian state and territory and ever continent of the world. You will live in a community unlike any you will have known in the past or will join in the future. This is a rare opportunity.

If you'd like more information the NCV website will give you extra information and will allow you to make an online application.


16 September, 2008

Fit-out well on the way

We are within 12 weeks of completion of the New College Village. Progress has been good on all fronts. Only Level 7 has significant work to be done with most walls completed and services well advanced. On lower floors the extent of the fit-out varies with elevation. Levels 1 and 2 are almost complete with carpet laying to commence in apartments and studios soon. Most kitchens are now fitted up to Level 4 and painting is well advanced on lower levels. Tiling to bathrooms is completed to Level 3 and underway up to Level 6. The rooftop services are also well advanced with air conditioning and hot water units currently being installed. External finishes are also well advanced with all three surface types under way. The photos below give some sense of the progress to date. We expect completion by the 20th December and our first guests by the 5th January 2009.

Above: View of the southern Level 3 corridor

Above: One of the apartment shared kitchens nearing completion

Above: Services being installed on the roof with the city skyline in the distance


04 September, 2008

A 'Skybridge' to New

The New College Village has been developed by New College. One of the wonderful characteristics of the New College community is its sense of fun. Each year it plans and mounts a Revue of the year's activities which is always a great production and is open to the College, University and the public. A revue is meant to be an amusing or satirical commentary on life on the College. One of the items on the program last week was 'The Skybridge'. It was one resident's 'tongue in cheek' comment on how we might bring the old New College and the new "New College Village" together. What do you think?

Not sure if this is an engineering possibility! As for the cost, I'm sure it would be well beyond us. Thanks to David Butterworth for letting us use his image. For the record, the Revue was a wonderful celebration of the talent of the College community. Perhaps the New College Village will have its own Revue in 2009 in the Main Common Room.

26 August, 2008

Latest Shots

Above: View of the building from Anzac Parade

Lipman is still making good progress on the New College Village. As previously reported the structure is completed. As well:

* Internal walls are now completed for all floors
* Most gyproc internal walls are completed
* Tiling of bathrooms and most fittings are completed to level 1
* Tiling is under way on levels 2 & 3
* Windows are installed to Level 6
* The installation of elevators is well advanced
* Most electrical, mechanical and haudraulic services are finished to Level 7
* External surface finishing is well progressed
* Sealing of the roof is close to completion

Above: Shot from the top of the L5 building

Above: Waterproofing the roof slab
Above: Shot of the northern facade from NIDA

Above: The kitchenettes are being installed in the studios


14 August, 2008

External finishing well underway

Progress continues to be good on the building. The following are some key indicators:
  • Structure complete
  • Internal walls largely completed levels 1-6 and well on the way to level 7 (top floor)
  • Services roughed in to level 7
  • Painting commenced on level 1
  • Preparation for tiling well advanced levels 1-4
  • External finishes well advanced
  • Acoustic screen to Anzac Parade commenced
  • Power sub station installed
The following photographs give a sense of the progress.

Above: Stockpiling tiles and other materials on the roof

Above: Granisite surfacing well under way (first 2 of 6 coats)

Above: Terrasite finishes commence on northern facade

Above: Main Common Room


04 August, 2008

Views of the completed structure

As I said in my last post the structure is now completed - all seven floors are erected and the roof has been poured. Fitting out is proceeding at a rapid pace. In summary:
  • Internal walls are almost erected to level 6
  • Services are roughed in to Level 6
  • Painting and tiling have begun on Levels 1 & 2
  • External surfaces are well advanced.
Here are two shots that give a sense of the shape and mass of the structure (even with scaffolding).

Photo 1: View of the northern facade from NIDA

Photo 2: View of the southern facade from the top of the L5 Building at UNSW