Key Information

Year of Project: 19-20

Number of student partners: 3

Number of staff partners: 3

Length of project: Five weeks

Weekly time commitment for student: Full-time for five weeks split across three students - one engaged full-time, two splitting the five week time commitment between them. 

Read Anthea's 'Stories of Partnership' experience within this project here.  

Redesigning informal learning spaces in the Blackett building entrance

Department of Physics

Lead Staff partner(s): Yasmin Andrew, Craig Walker, Luke McCrone

Student partners: Anthea MacIntosh-LaRocque, Max Hart and Josie McGarrigle

Project area: Space Design

Background for project

 This project was intended to create a refurbishment proposal for the Blackett building, specifically the open foyer space across Levels 1, 2 and 3 at the entrance.  This was in response to a trend of poor student satisfaction with regard to study and social space within the building, as well as a limited sense of departmental identity and community.  The intention was that this space could also be used as a more informal space for student-staff interaction outside of lecture or tutorial times. 

Desired outcomes included dedicated social and study places, as well as a key point of improving disability access.  The hope was to make the space multi-purpose, whilst also enhancing a sense of departmental identity within the design. 


The student partners relied upon initial research, end-user consultation of both students and staff, and an innovative design competition to ensure they had a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the users and the required practicality of their approach.  The first phase comprised of student surveys and staff interviews to establish a general impression of desired results, from the perspective of these groups.  The secondary consultation stage related specifically to design preference, and was run via student focus groups to ensure preliminary designs were still aligned with user expectations.  

Blackett designDesigns were created using software, building upon this comprehensive perspective of user requirements, as well as collaboration amongst the Student partners themselves.  Real-life products and materials were selected online to establish an inventory, and 3D renders were produced of the final selected designs.  A wheelchair access ramp was a clearly outlined desired outcome of the project, which was conveyed in the final designs. 

 Student partners continued with the project after the design phase with the furniture tendering process, and in liaison with the building manager to ensure continuity of intent and that student designs were carried through to the final installation. Further outputs of the project are now underway through funding from the President’s Community fund.