MECO savours Woolley Building revamp

6 March 2014

The $1.8m Woolley Building
The $1.8m Woolley Building renovation has been completed, and its occupants could not be happier with the facelift.

Renovation of the Woolley Building was the start of a total $4 million project that began in November 2013, with further work completed on the new media technology room on the ground floor of the Brennan McCallum building.

The renovation introduces new designer furniture for all spaces including the academic and digital media unit offices, the halls, the multi-purpose meeting room and the staffroom.

Senior Lecturer and Media and Communications Postgraduate coordinator, Dr Fiona Giles is delighted with the new look and feel of the ground floor.

"[It's] wonderfully light and spacious - more than we had expected given it's the south-facing wing of Woolley and was previously so dark. It's been a happy surprise to discover just how light and airy it is," said Dr Giles.

The revamp was not without its challenges, as Dr Giles explains.

"The builders were surprised by the size of some of the windows, which were revealed after they removed the layers of cladding and the mezzanine floor. The high ceilings are fantastic. Perfect for lofty thoughts! And the public space provided by the wide hallway is really welcoming to students and staff alike," she said.

The meeting room has been designed for multiple uses. It hold tutorials, seminars and staff meetings.

"The room has a slightly unusual shape with an area for break-out discussion, so it will make an ideal function venue as well as a meeting area. The room also has massive south-facing bay windows but the light can be completely blocked out with floor to ceiling black curtains pulled across the break-out space. This also make it more versatile so that it can be more intimate or formal, depending on the event."

The Digital Media Unit's moves gives it more storage and handling space and more desks with computers, just alongside a borrowing window where students can work while waiting during busier times.

DMU's new space adds to its existing and extensive range of high-quality equipment including digital video cameras and audio recording equipment, which students can borrow for assignments and international internships.

The staffroom, meanwhile, is proving to be popular owing to its access to an enclosed courtyard.

"At lunch time or for occasional small meetings, it is really lovely," said Dr Giles. "It's shady, but we're looking forward to improving the gardens so they are truly a contemplative space."

Thanks to the revamp, the Digital Cultures, Media and Communication and the Digital Media units of the School of Letters, Art and Media now share a building for the first time.

"We're very happy to be all in one place for the first time, and not scattered across two or more buildings, as MECO staff have many common and overlapping research interests with Digital Cultures, this is a great opportunity for us to take advantage of those 'corridor moments' when we can discuss ideas," said Dr Giles.

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