MEJ Masthead

State of the Union (Court)

Calum Stenning

Union Court has long been (as it should be) the main hub of the ANU.

In autumn, the ‘fluff’ begins to fall from the poplars, coating the east side – an event which some believe signals when students should start studying for first semester exams.

With a slew of indoor and outdoor amenities, Union Court has served as a hive of activity for students, staff and visitors alike. But with its somewhat brutalist architecture and expansive use of concrete, it’s quickly aged over the decades. Last year, the ANU announced it time for revitalisation. A little facelift, if you will.

The new development is still very much in the planning stages, but even this early in the process, the proposals are exciting. Full-blown facial reconstruction might be closer to the mark than facelift.

An initial concept of a 25m pool has been expanded to a full Olympic 50m concept. A new and updated library is on the cards, as well as new teaching and event spaces and a health and wellbeing centre – but it’s the refreshed foodie offerings that have really got people talking.

The proposed South Commons

The proposed South Commons

Food, drink and retail options are rumoured to be opened in newly formed laneways—and even bigger still—it’s been announced that the gang responsible for a new, central student bar are none other than The Burley Group – the crew behind Walt ‘N’ Burley and Betti Bravo.

What’s more, ANU might be set to become Canberra’s next Street Food destination with The PopUp area of Union Court aet to host popular food vans such as Brodburger and Mr Papa, both which were present today as Vice Chancellor Brian Schmidt announced the newest stage of the development and plans (he ordered a Chanchito from Mr Papa, if you wanted to know).

“A program of dawn to dusk experiences and events will ensure there is always something on at the PopUp and its location at the edge of the campus is a welcoming point for broader Canberra community,” says the ANU website.

OC_East Deck_920

The PopUp

Aside from food, there’s talk of a cinema (for when procrastination wins out) and even a secret garden.

The revamp isn’t without its own, inevitable controversy, however. Some are lamenting the impending end of the ANU Bar, a venue that has seen many great acts come and go over the years, while where large-scale lectures will be held once the Manning Clarke Building has been demolished is yet to be revealed.

But with the transformation of Sullivan’s Creek into a chic boardwalk complete with Cambridge style boats being just one example of seriously cool new ideas coming to campus, the benefits of the “revitalisation” might be enough to drain any upset from people’s minds.


Images: Supplied. 

Feature image: Rebecca Doyle Photography


Calum Stenning

Calum Stenning is Her Canberra’s newest and most male (read: only) intern. Three years spent living overseas has given him a renewed appreciation for Canberra life. Every day starts with coffee and the Sydney Morning Herald crossword at a favourite coffee haunt, as he is wary of the perils of dementia, and thinks crosswords are a viable safeguard. If he lives to a dementia-appropriate age (evidence says he won’t), he’ll let us know. More about the Author