Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property

Materials & finishes

External - General

In line with the whole of life approach to building design external surfaces and elements of a building need to have the following characteristics:

  • Robust and durable, appropriate for the location and use.
  • Require minimal maintenance, generally non-painted surfaces is preferred. Any painted surfaces should only be used where agreed by MQP.
  • Elements that will require maintenance align with the operational and maintenance procedures of the Buildings and grounds staff.
  • Compatibility with the design character of the campus

The University has preferences for the use of building materials that are compatible with:

  • The design character of the overall campus,
  • The design character of the local precinct (refer to the Concept Master Plan
  • Continuity of external materials used in existing adjacent campus buildings.

Refer to the Concept Master Plan for design guidance of external spaces, including active and passive spaces as well as access links to and between buildings.

The following are the preferences for external materials.

  • Off form concrete is to be used with restraint
  • Patterns and colour of in situ off-form and precast concrete will be as agreed upon in association with MQP and from samples prepared during the course of construction.
  • Face brickwork is preferred for walls, selected from the range of bricks used in existing buildings. Bricks are to match as closely as possible those nominated in adjacent buildings.
  • Detailing including joints (struck flush), should have regard to existing brickwork
  • Concrete masonry is to be avoided except, if approved by MQP, in proprietary retaining walls
  • Bright colours and obtrusive patterns are to be used only where specifically approved by MQP.
  • Aluminium framed windows and doors matching those in existing buildings.
  • External metalwork should be non-ferrous(Stainless Steel/Aluminium) or galvanised
  • All metalwork exposed externally is to be either:
    • Corrosion resistant self-finished metal eg. anodised aluminium or stainless steel;
    • Powder coated finish external grade over galvanised or non ferrous metal;
    • Galvanised steel. All sections are to be hot dip galvanised and bolted together. Welding and cold galvanising of galvanised sections is not acceptable.
  • On site painting and surface coatings requiring maintenance externally are to be kept to an absolute minimum.

The final selection of materials to be used in any particular project is to be discussed and agreed with the MQP.

Following is the Table of preferred materials.


Materials Selection

A Whole of Life approach is to be used in the selection of the appropriate landscape elements to ensure that the most appropriate Value for Money material is used.

Designers should consider the following in the selection of materials:

  • Ecological sustainable solutions
  • Life Cycle Costing
  • Durability
  • Robustness to resist Vandalism
  • Maintainability
  • Occupant, user and maintenance staff safety

Safe Materials

Safety and security are key considerations for the Campus landscape.

Create a safe environment using materials that will not cause harm to students, staff or visitors.

The principles of safe design must be carried through all aspects of the design from initial design, through development and construction as well as maintenance.

All products and materials used on the campus must be safe.

Refer also to Health and Safety / Safety in Design section of the design guide for information MQU safety policies.

Harmful or irritant plants

Minimise the potential for harm arising from the selection of plant material in the University landscape.

Plants known to be toxic, and especially those known to be toxic in small quantities, must not be used in the Campus landscape.