Forestry building

A new vision for the Forestry building.


The University’s vision to redevelop the iconic Forestry building will provide spaces designed specifically for hands-on learning, collaboration and professional networking opportunities for 300 staff and 3000 students across business, law and administration.

Architect Robert Morris-Nunn, who designed the award-winning restoration of the historic building in the 1990s, is thrilled that the iconic building – with its beautiful glass dome – will be restored and used as a place of learning. Seeing the building fall into disuse over the last few years has been really sad, so to know that the University is planning to restore it, and even reinstate the forest under the dome, is amazing news.

"The dome was built in the 1990s, added on to an existing structure that dates back to the 1930s, and that dome has been deemed to have enough merit that it is now included in the overall heritage listing for the building. It’s the first time anything I’ve built has been heritage listed. So it’s nice to know that legacy is now going to be preserved and given new life."

Hear more in this video from Robert Morris-Nunn about the past and future vision for the Forestry building.

Co-designing a redeveloped Forestry building

We asked future building users what they need to deliver an outstanding learning and research experience for students and staff.

The Law School told us they want to create:

"A law school with a heart: human-centred spaces to create exceptional, internationally recognised law graduates"

Business and University College said they want to:

"Solve real problems for real people; transforming learning globally from the heart of Hobart’s CBD"

Six key design principles emerged from feedback received:

Functional needs

  • The iconic building and spaces reference Hobart history and provide a sense of belonging for Law and Business in the city
  • We will bring historical items from Sandy Bay with us; celebrating staff and student success

Aesthetic vision

  • Use of Tasmanian timbers and local materials, inclusion of Tasmanian artwork
  • Acknowledgement heritage and indigenous cultures

Built form

  • Business: Access to an Experimental Economics Lab and Tax Clinic
  • Law: Moot Court, law themed study spaces and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice space to meet the teaching and research needs of each discipline
  • Administration: Enables teamwork, lean and agile work practices and a positive culture

"The times I’ve thought ‘I’d love to work here’ have been when I enter a school or faculty and it feels like a genuine academic environment rather than a corporate or government one."

Functional needs

  • Spaces are physically accessible to all
  • Designed with safety and security in mind, supporting extended access hours
  • Inviting social spaces to interact with good acoustics - not cavernous and not warrens

Aesthetic vision

  • Places that feel dynamic and creative, encourage inclusivity and are designed to welcome people from diverse backgrounds and genders
  • Carefully selected lighting and colour palettes that are suited to neurodiverse people

Built form

  • Law reception – important for student experience and retention (individual connection and friendly faces)
  • Parents’ room and quiet room
  • End of trip facilities (showers, lockers, secure bike storage)

"There were people of all backgrounds and abilities represented, open communal spaces, places filled with trees and nature where classes and meetings took place. A common lunch hour so all could share food. Shared kitchens, rituals, a buzz of collectivism and inclusion. People in wheel chairs, signs written in many languages, a feel of a global village."

Functional needs

  • Greater employment opportunities for students; they have as much of a presence in the building as staff, which leads to more formal and informal interactions
  • Places (formal and informal) that encourage planned and spontaneous collaboration, and connecting with professions in the CBD, including a mix of meeting spaces
  • Secure staff area but common spaces open and inviting to wider community. Staff kitchen/lounge separate from workplace (acoustic barrier) with books/magazines
  • News boards for sharing upcoming events

Built form

  • Dedicated student kitchen, social common area and collaborative work environment, storage, dedicated student space
  • Multi-use spaces for holding events (social and scholarly) such as: career events, mock job interviews, writing courses, Peer Assessment Help, language proficiency, social night activities (dance nights, games nights, movie nights), markets (second hand clothes, books, crafts etc), fitness classes, drinks with staff, informal unit chats
  • Study space for HDR candidates to encourage a sense of identity and cohort; study spaces for students to encourage them to stay on campus longer

"If we move into the city, then a connection with the actual professional precincts that we are supposed to train students for, and work alongside, would be good – rather than being tucked out of the way and lost in a mix of disciplines."

Functional needs

  • Purpose-built learning and teaching spaces that suit flexible pedagogy, and offer a range of sizes and capacities
  • Teaching spaces close to staff workplace to promote serendipity and close connections between staff/students
  • Law-specific learning spaces incorporated, as well as informal study space

Built form

  • User-friendly technology, zoom-enabled classrooms, power and data, wifi, whiteboards
  • Soundproof recording room for producing online learning content with professional lighting
  • Audio-enhanced teaching spaces fitted with appropriate hearing augmentation
  • AV screens positioned in classrooms and meeting spaces for equal viewing accessibility

"Intellectual buzz, the ambience that is both drenched in history and utterly contemporary, the powerful sense of work happening around me, the blend of deep seriousness and joy in creative and academic work, the potential for discovery and learning."

Functional needs

  • Encourage collaboration and sense of teamwork between staff and students across disciplines – spaces to gather in non-bookable spaces (alcoves, forest, pods)
  • Good acoustics and consideration of interior materials to keep noise to a minimum
  • Inclusion of a range of workplace settings, including enclosed offices and allocated workplaces

Aesthetic vision

  • Spaces that are bright, green and offer natural light – comfortable not sterile
  • Inviting outside spaces with connections to the natural environment and wilderness

Built form

  • Access to comfortable chairs for reading, storage options for books, research materials and personal belongings
  • User-friendly technology, shared printer/storage in a separate; minimising disruption to work and study

"Campus is where I can focus and study without distraction. It’s where I feel like a scholar. "Office privacy is important but being able to easily know when people are in is important too."

  • Low carbon impact with low operational energy consumption and reduced embodied carbon through careful choice of materials
  • Circular materials strategy developed to help maintain material value
    Water efficiency with high-performance fixtures and fittings, rainwater capture and reuse
  • Natural planting, extensive use of natural light to reduce need for artificial lighting, low VOCs supporting indoor air quality
  • Building designed to be adaptive as pedagogy and space needs evolve – not designed for single use

"I love very green spaces, where I can be in contact with the natural world around – both through being able to step outdoors into green spaces, or through having lots of plants inside and looking out at a mountain."

Vision gallery