Opening and blessing of new Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building

ACU’s new Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building in Melbourne was officially opened and blessed yesterday.

Speaking at the event, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis said the new building had quickly become the central focus of the vibrant Melbourne campus.

“This building is indeed a gamechanger for ACU in Melbourne, signifying a step-change in the way we think about educational environments on all of our campuses,” Professor Skrbis said.

“It is a meeting place that brings together our students, our staff and our communities, enhancing their engagement and connectedness.

“It is a place of knowledge, where our people can engage in intellectual pursuits that serve and benefit others, and where they can learn, teach and research in a manner that reflects our institution’s Catholic identity.”

Professor Skrbis said the building honours ACU’s commitment to environmental responsibility, with excellent sustainable-design principles to reduce its overall environmental impact.

Officially opening the new building, ACU Chancellor the Honorable Martin Daubney AM KC said it embraced history, honouring the university’s faith-based roots with substance and style.

“Not only is it named after Saint Teresa of Kolkata it also stays true our Catholic character through its design, which references the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral and integrates brilliantly with the heritage-listed Mary Glowrey Building to create a distinct shape for our Melbourne campus,” he said.

“The goal was to create an environment that improves the learning and teaching experience, providing state-of-the-art facilities to bring together students, staff and community, ensuring that our university continues to thrive and prosper in the years to come.”

Built by construction company, BESIX Watpac, the Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building has 18,344 square metre teaching and learning space over 13 levels including a combination of centralised teaching facilities and informal learning spaces, upgraded student amenities, green spaces and a rooftop multi-sports court.

It also includes seven levels of basement and the construction of three additional levels over the historic Mary Glowrey building.

The cladding and serrated edge facade pays homage to its namesake, missionary Saint Teresa of Kolkata, while lending a nod to the site’s former Note and Stamp Printing Department.

BESIX Watpac chief executive Mark Baker praised the vibrant campus activity following project delivery, acknowledging the challenging conditions experienced during construction.

“Delivering this complex project within the significant constraints and restrictions of COVID-19 and incorporating a substantial number of design changes during construction presented a variety of logistical challenges,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to see our team’s dedication and commitment to the project has paid off and the campus come alive with teachers, students and the community today.”

Fast facts:

  • 100% renewable electricity sourced from the grid
  • A 30-kilolitre water tank to capture rainwater for reuse in toilets
  • More than a million construction hours over four years
  • 18,344 square metre space over 13 levels
  • 21 different types of facade and glazing
  • A 60-kilowatt array of solar panels will generate about 74,000 kWh of electricity per year
  • More than 2000 live plants
  • Rooftop full-sized multi-sports court for basketball, netball and futsal

Most Reverend Peter Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, presided over the blessing. The event was also attended by ACU staff, students, members of senate and industry partners.

Video: take a virtual tour of the completed building and see how it emerged through time lapse footage.

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