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Construction begins on Hobart’s Forestry building restoration

Construction begins on Hobart’s Forestry building restoration

Australian commercial building company Hansen Yuncken has commenced construction on Hobart’s Forestry building, which will be restored and given new life over the next two years.

Set to house 300 staff and support the studies of 3,000 students once complete, the building will be home to the University of Tasmania’s College of Business and Economics and Law School, as well as administrative offices.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the $131 million project will provide improved, contemporary and more accessible facilities for students and staff, and give the community access to year-round green space in the heart of the city.

“We are proud to be making this significant investment in educational facilities for students and staff, and in the capital city we all share, through the restoration of an important piece of Hobart’s architecture,” Professor Black said.

“As central business districts around the world adapt to the changes wrought by the global pandemic, our hope is that the University of Tasmania can play a positive role in supporting a vibrant, thriving future for Hobart by creating high quality civic spaces that are hubs for students, staff and the community and bring life into the city.”

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Executive Dean of the College of Business and Economics Professor Stuart Crispin said the central business district was the ideal location for the college.

“This new hub will be close to transport, jobs, shops and services and brings business, law and economics education and research into the heart of the city allowing increased collaborations with our partners as we work to solve real problems for real people,” Professor Crispin said.

The project is set to deliver more than 40 per cent less embodied carbon than comparable buildings and a comprehensively circular approach to all the materials used in the building.

Designed by architectural practice Woods Bagot, the project will be completed by construction firm Hansen Yuncken, which recently built the Hedberg and is also restoring and renovating the historic Philip Smith Centre on the Domain, the University’s original home.

At its peak, 180 trades people will be working on the site on any one day, with up to 20 per cent of them being locally employed apprentices.

Hansen Yuncken Project Manager Alex Gorton said the company was pleased to be continuing its relationship with the University of Tasmania to deliver this major project for the State.

“We are thrilled to be involved in the delivery of this iconic project, continuing our longstanding relationship with the University of Tasmania,” Mr Gorton said. “With a strong focus on sustainability, we look forward to bringing to life this truly world-class design.”

The project will also restore the living forest to the heritage listed dome, creating a new inner-city park and thoroughfare between Melville and Brisbane Streets for the community.

Tasmanian architect Robert Morris-Nunn designed the award-winning 1990’s renovation of Hobart’s Forestry building, and said he was thrilled it would now be part of the University of Tasmania’s campus after being vacant for years.

“Seeing the building fall into disuse was really sad,” Mr Morris-Nunn said. “It’s been truly amazing for the building to become part of the University and to know that it will be renovated, the forest replanted, and the space filled with students and given back the life it should have had.”

The City of Hobart approved the Development Application for the restoration last year, with staff and students expected to be using the building in 2025.

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