RMIT University has officially opened Walert House at its Bundoora campus.
A new high-tech student accommodation facility that enhances student experience by integrating learning and living on campus.
Walert House will provide 370 beds for students and researchers in a broad mix of accommodation unit types, built around a technology-rich central hub of common areas that offer dedicated and informal student study, research, living and leisure spaces.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said the facilities – the first on-campus student accommodation at RMIT’s Melbourne campuses – would offer high-quality, affordable and smart housing for students.
“I’m passionate about leveraging the power of technology, the built environment, the research space, and innovative learning and teaching to achieve RMIT’s goals.
“This development does just that and meets a growing need for accommodation and smart contemporary amenities that will improve the experience at Bundoora for a wide range of students,” Martin said.
Minister for Training and Skills and Minister for International Education, Steve Herbert, officially opened the facility jointly with Martin Bean.
“This new environmentally friendly building will make RMIT’s Bundoora campus an even more attractive place to study for students both from Victoria, Australia and around the world,” Herbert said.
RMIT is privileged to borrow from the Indigenous Wurundjeri language the name Walert, meaning possum.
Martin Bean said eucalypts and possums were a significant totem for Aboriginal people across the Kulin Nations, and possum skin cloaks were a symbol of cultural heritage.
“Walert House is nestled among gums, including culturally significant scar trees – trees that have had bark removed for canoes, shelters, shields and containers.
“In the same way that gum trees provide shelter and protection for possums, we’re offering safe and inclusive accommodation for 370 students here at Bundoora.”
RMIT has appointed UniLodge to manage the facility. UniLodge is a specialist operator of student accommodation providing innovative and responsible pastoral care.
Currently, there are 5500 full-time and 1200 part-time students studying at Bundoora – from vocational education and undergraduate, to postgraduate research. Programs include health and medical sciences, science, engineering and education.
Designed by Richard Middleton Architects, the new 11,000 m2 facility includes:
- The Village Hall: combines the functions of common room/shared kitchen/ TED Talks and Discursive Zone, plus ample study and relaxation space
- The Living Room: includes dedicated themed game zones – The Den and The Deck
- The Postgraduate Research Hub: dedicated space for postgraduates incorporating a club-style lounge area, with a distinct look and feel, and study niches for individuals or small groups
- The Project Zone: dedicated informal learning space that includes a project room and meeting rooms with video conferencing
- The Pit Stop: provides an opportunity for all students to touch base with reception, guests and each other
- The Gourmet Kitchen: a space for group gourmet cooking on Level One, plus a Veggie Patch on campus to access fresh produce
- Secure resident car park: will feature lighting, CCTV, boom gate access and can be rented by resident students for a fee from RMIT University. There are about 170 car parks provided.
- Environment and sustainability: the building is intended to achieve a 6-star Greenstar design rating and will showcase advanced environmental features including:
- Solar-boosted hot water
- Underground stormwater retention tank and separate rainwater storage and reuse
- A large landscape swale – a water harvesting channel built on the contour of the landscape, for passive water management
- Motion detector-controlled lighting/air conditioning in common areas
- An allowance for future connectivity to tri-gen electricity (RMIT Sustainable Urban Precincts Program).
Other features of the new development include:
- An urban plaza to McKimmies Road
- Integrated landscaping, including sensitive treatment of the Keelbundoora scar trees and significant existing red gums.
RMIT Bundoora campus is very close to the University Hill retail precinct and public transport. The campus also has excellent sporting facilities, as well as other outdoor features including the vibrant Spine art walkway and ornamental lakes.
The new student accommodation at Bundoora also feeds into the Whittlesea area – part of Melbourne’s northern growth corridor – which has a growing population of 154,877 (2011 census).
For media enquiries: Deborah Sippitts, (03) 9925 3116 or 0429 588 869.