New outdoor study space an asset for UQ students

Students at The University of Queensland (UQ) are enjoying access to a revitalised outdoor space, following the opening of Duhig Place, a newly-designed space adjacent to the Social Sciences and Humanities Library at the St Lucia campus.

UQ’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Joanne Wright recently opened the site at an official ceremony attended by members of the project design team from Place Design Group, University of Queensland Library staff, students and other members of the UQ community.

Place Design Group Design Lead and Project Manager, Penny Spiers said the site will provide a more user-friendly environment for students and the wider university community.

“UQ students are now able to study, relax and get together in an elegant outdoor and undercover area specifically designed for functionality and ease of use,” Penny said.

“Duhig Place offers a mixture of passive recreation and learning spaces for people to sit outside and work or study on their laptops under cover, and incorporates facilities to accommodate larger group functions and gatherings.”

UQ Library Manager Glen Dalgleish, said students are already using Duhig Place as an outdoor study area.

“The new space seems to be very popular with students and the seats and tables are occupied most of the time,” he said.

“The space extends the library’s study spaces for students into the outdoors by providing extra seating, access to power, the university’s wireless network and lighting to ensure students can continue using the space at night,” Glen said.

Place Design Group was commissioned by the Library to lead the design process and deliver a space where students could study and socialise beside an iconic library building designed by Robin Gibson & Partners.

“Our design sought to introduce organic shapes into the space through the arrangement of pavement and planting areas and a suite of custom-designed structures and sociopetal outdoor furniture, to encourage group interaction. The curvilinear design created discrete areas within the courtyard, while also ensuring we could protect existing tree roots and integrate them into garden beds”, Penny said.

The project team also worked to improve wayfinding to the Duhig North Building.

“To do this we widened pathways, placed additional lighting at the building entry and throughout, installed strategically-placed signage, and maintained open view lines to the Library entry.”

“Together with Landscape Contractor Naturform, we upgraded services throughout, included new irrigation, installed fairy lights in the trees, and included a new water bottle refill station. Students are also able to access the University wi-fi and network from the comfort of the outdoor space.

“With regards to planting, the existing vegetation was retained wherever possible, and complemented by the introduction of hardy, subtropical planting to reinforce the character of the campus and provide foliage colour and textural interest.

“Importantly, Duhig Place boasts a low maintenance landscape, able to withstand the changing seasons and the pressure imposed on a high use area.

“We are so proud to have delivered such a wonderful new space for UQ. The courtyard is a fantastic asset for the University – one that demonstrates its commitment to providing a first-class campus lifestyle.” Penny said.