Charles Sturt University

$40 million

Completed 2009

Joss Constructions

−Student housing comprising 200 beds within five two-building clusters as part of the CSU Campus.

−The new student accommodation has been designed as a minimal intervention to the landscape and was conceived as a series of clusters orientated within the contours of the existing landscape so as to minimise excavation and to complement the unique nature of the various sites. The design methodology seeks to:

  • Minimise environmental impact
  • Significantly reduce running costs associated with mechanical systems
  • Provide a strong identity for the campus with a focus and social hub for the students, encouraging peer-group learning and student interaction
  • Provide internal/external living areas that allow a pleasant living environment for students, encouraging outdoor activity, interaction and that minimise the use of the site area by the creation of external social spaces to connect the buildings


−The overall building is to be fabricated from a series of pre-cast concrete pods. Each pod can then be constructed off-site and delivered when required. These provide the individual student rooms with the void between them creating the communal and amenities spaces.

House Units

−Each of the 20 bedroom student houses is paired so as to create a shared courtyard which is naturally shaded by the buildings. These are linked by a footpath, weaving between each of the clusters, minimising any hard surfacing while providing access for disabled students. Each of the ten houses has a shared kitchen, dining and living area at ground level situated in the middle of the building. These spaces are directly accessed from the central courtyard space and have been designed as ‘open-plan’. The new houses are part single-storey and part double storey. This is so as to make overall building mass appear less visually obtrusive, providing views through the site with the houses appearing to nestle into the sloping site.


−Corrugated colorbond sheeting is also proposed for the roofing which has been conceived as a butterfly-type pitch with wide eaves to provide shading. Corrugated metal sheeting has been chosen as it is an ideal material: adaptable, durable, strong and light. Not only does it relate to the heritage of Australian agricultural buildings but also shields the thermal mass of the internal concrete walls and ceilings to maintain a more constant internal environment.

Building Elevations

−The facade utilises ‘basic’ materials chosen for their functional adaptability. The external face of the buildings is predominantly clad with corrugated colorbond sheeting with a mixture of Lexan – semi-translucent sheeting – and clear glazing to the internal communal areas. Lexan provides high thermal insulation properties and the clear glazing provides views from within the building to the surrounding landscape. To individualise the buildings the end walls of each shall have an applied acrylic-render finish painted with it’s own unique colour.