Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property
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Architectural Design

Design Objectives

The overall objective is to develop each facility and the campus as a whole in a rational, coherent and coordinated manner, to gain the maximum long term benefit from the developed site, with consideration of:

  • Site specific physical and contextual characteristics
  • Availability of infrastructure services to the site and adjacent areas
  • Principles and criteria embodied in the these Design Guidelines
  • The need to maximise usability of internal and external space available so as to gain maximum efficiencies
  • The need to minimise on-going grounds and building maintenance, in a whole of life approach to development
  • Project budget
  • Potential staging of works
  • On-going maintenance procedures
  • Post-construction occupancy evaluations

Guiding Principles

The university's-built environment should embrace the philosophy of Long life, low energy, adaptability, and value for money.

Within a systematic whole of life, value for money framework that takes into account enhancement of learning and teaching, planning and development, sustainability, and facilities management, provide functional and durable facilities that:

  • Provide locally responsive design appropriate to the physical and social environment of the university
  • Provide a responsive design that considers life cycle costs
  • Provide a responsive design that provides value for money and efficient use of space. Requirements for a fit out in rented or leased premises will be different from that in owned buildings.
  • Create activated spaces that enhance and support learning and research
  • Provide design solutions that consider the whole of a space as well as the interrelationship and use of all spaces
  • Provide a balance of dedicated and multipurpose spaces (loose fit) to ensure flexibility while maintaining specialisation
  • Design reconfigurable facilities for a long life span that can be adapted over time with minimal costs
  • Provide designs that contain inbuilt adaptability to accommodate changes in technology and pedagogy
  • Design agile learning environments with flexible furniture to allow intuitive and easy rearrangement for different purposes.

General Design Principles

Educational facilities should be designed:

  • To be supportive of Macquarie University's general educational principles
  • To be flexible so as to support current and evolving pedagogies and technologies
  • To be adaptable to suit a range of learning and teaching strategies (modalities). Spaces should be designed to support multiple purposes where practical.
  • To be ergonomically suited to the users
  • Facilitate inclusivity and accessibility
  • To incorporate ecologically sustainable principles

Educational Design Principles

From research into the existing facilities and educational functions across the university, shortfalls were identified in the facilities due to the changing and emerging education principles.

The Master plan sets out the following proposed principles to improve efficiencies in planning and managing education facilities:

  • Increase the use of e-learning (which reduces space demand)
  • The adoption of trimester academic year (which extend the use of current facilities)
  • The development of more effective methodologies for space demand forecasting (increasing space utilization)
  • The development of more flexible learning spaces. Such as Active Learning spaces that can provide varied learning approach options.

Moving forward, the learning and teaching accommodation strategy identifies the need for the provision of learning and teaching space to be:

  • Derived from the Learning and teaching plan
  • Aligned with the planned pedagogical outcomes and technologies.
  • Supportive of a variety of learning and teaching techniques, including traditional approaches as well as pedagogical innovation.
  • Support emerging learning models of:
    • Interactive learning
    • Remote learning /lectures
    • Group learning
    • Project based learning
    • Immersion learning
    • Self directed learning.

For more information on emerging educational principles refer to the Universities Learning and Teaching Plan and the Campus Master Plan.

The following tables shed insight into the design principles for educational facilities, taken from Table 2 & 3 from Retrofitting University learning spaces Final Report 2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Table 2: Learning space design principles derived from space design principles

Learning principles:

Derived learning space principles

1. Space should be useful, built to last and easy to maintain

Learning spaces should be robust and fit for ongoing use

Learning spaces should be designed giving due consideration to ongoing maintenance of the space

2. Spaces should facilitate quality of life for the users

Learning spaces should be a healthy working and learning environment

Learning spaces should minimise any consequences and risks associated with accidental or unintended actions

3. Spaces should be easy to move around and allow users to find their way

Learning spaces should be easy to access and navigate for all users

Learning spaces should encourage the notion of simplicity in exercising control over events in the room and its systems

4. Spaces should relate well to other spaces

Learning spaces should be (re)designed in conjunction with planning for adjacent spaces

Learning spaces should allow for a flow of pedagogical activities in and around them rather than an unconnected set of learning events

5. Spaces should be flexible and respond to changing use over time

Learning spaces should support a range of different learning activities without the need for excessive reconfiguration

Learning spaces should be easily reconfigured to support new and emerging learning requirements

6. Spaces are environmentally efficient

Learning spaces should be designed to utilise resources and technologies that are environmentally sustainable

Learning spaces should support users to learn about and be environmentally conscious in their learning activities

7. Spaces should help their user to work more effectively

Learning spaces should facilitate easy movement of learners around the space

Learning spaces should create minimal cognitive dissonance for their users

8. Spaces should prompt users to express pride or delight in their use

Learning spaces should convey a sense of engagement and excitement

Learning spaces should encourage a sense of ownership by both staff and students

Table 3: Learning space design principles derived from technology design principles

3: Learning principles

Derived learning space principles

1. A system or solution should be easy for a novice user to learn and an experienced user to use its advanced functionality

Learning spaces should include elements that assist the learning efficiency and efficacy of its users

Learning spaces should allow the user to focus on the learning activities to be conducted and not on the learning activities required to use the space

2. A system or solution should deliver the function necessary for its users to achieve their desired objectives

Learning spaces should be designed based on a clear vision and understanding of users' needs

Learning spaces should be designed using robust design, test and implement procedures

3. A system or solution should withstand the rigours of constant operation as well have some ability to adapt to changing circumstances

Learning spaces should be designed giving due consideration to ongoing maintenance of the space

Learning spaces should be constructed with flexible elements that do not constrain its ability to adapt to changing needs

4. A system or solution should be dependable and provide the user with the necessary confidence that it will be available when required

Learning spaces should utilise technology to proactively monitor that state of the space and its systems

Learning spaces should be easily identified allowing users to find suitable spaces

5. A system or solution should be able to respond to relevant peak demands and be available in a cost effective manner to support its broadest possible use

Learning spaces should have sufficient resources for all users of the space irrespective of the configuration

Learning spaces should be adequately supported by services that allow additional learning resources to be easily allocated

Room Numbering

The University has developed a system of numbering buildings, rooms and spaces within its buildings as part of the Macquarie University Signage and Wayfinding Guidelines.

The consistent numbering of rooms is important and will be used to as reference points for maintenance staff and contractors as well as room scheduling.

Click here to view the Signage and Wayfinding Guidelines Section.

Cleaners Room and Store

Facilities for the cleaning and maintenance of building facilities are required to every building or facility. These facilities are to include:

  • In an position as agreed by the Property Office, on each ground floor level and alternate floor of new buildings or major refurbishments, a cleaners store room.
  • Store Room to be a min. of  1800 x 1800 internally) for the storage of cleaning materials, cleaning equipment and reserve stock of paper products towels, toilet paper, etc.
  • Room to include a cleaners' sink, shelving and storage racks. Refer to Amenities Fixtures Section.
  • In addition in new buildings and in whole floor refurbishments, provide a cleaners' sink in a toilet on alternate floors where no cleaners' store is available.

Storage Space

In each new building, and major extensions or refurbishments when called for, include at ground floor level (not in an upper level plantroom) a Maintenance store room with lockable door to accommodate ladders, electrical and maintenance supplies.

Such space is to be additional to, but may be adjacent to, Cleaner's Stores.  Room to have a floor area of at least 2 metres square with a full height door and 2.4 metre ceiling height.

Shelving and other fixtures will be listed within the project brief.

As-Built Drawings

As Designed / As Built /As installed documentation, including drawings, are required on all projects. All drawings are to be in a format that will integrate with the Universities Building Information Management and CAD systems.

All rooms and spaces indicated in documentation is to align with the University Room & Building numbering policy.

As-Built Documentation to Include:


  • Floor plans all levels
  • Roof plan
  • Elevations, sections


  • Ductwork all levels
  • Pipework (other than hydraulics relevant to mechanical services all levels)
  • Plant room layouts


  • Switchboard locations
  • Submain locations
  • Main cable runs
  • Light fittings and locations; general and emergency
  • GPO locations
  • Air conditioning and permanently connected equipment
  • Fans
  • Hot water unit locationss
  • Three phase power outlets
  • Log books and data entry sheets for emergency and exit lighting
  • Route of underground services
  • Thermal and smoke detector locations showing wiring and EOL
  • EWIS speaker locations
  • Provide copy of the switchboard schedules


  • Plumbing and drainage site plan
  • Plumbing and drainage all levels
  • Plumbing isometrics

Operation and Maintenance Manuals

For further details, refer to the MQU Operations and Maintenance Manual Template.