Saint Teresa of Kolkata

Saint Teresa of Kolkata

the city


the Campus

“A whole new integrated public interface is achieved for the Campus by creating a more porous and transparent street presence, whilst highly contemporary teaching and learning facilities…focused on wellbeing through emphasis on comfort, natural light, and gardens will energise the ACU student and staff community.”

Adrian Stanic, Director of Lyons

Australian Catholic University (ACU) came to us with a vision for the future, a vision to design and build an urban vertical teaching and learning environment to integrate the St.Patrick’s campus to accommodate growth and give the future generations of Australia space to think, learn and evolve. We worked together with ACU to design a solution that assists more students, teachers and researchers in pursuing innovative, leading edge higher education and academic research. The design encompasses a new twelve story above ground development and the transformation of the adjacent Mary Glowrey Building (MGB).

The state-of-the-art vertical campus encourages cross facility use with internal and external spaces for recreation and socialisation. Our architectural solution responds to the needs of students, teachers and researchers and prioritises flexibility to meet the rapidly evolving needs of university education now and well into the future. Located on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD and the suburb of Fitzroy, the new Saint Teresa of Kolkata (STK) building will anchor and breathe new life into the ACU St. Patrick’s Campus.

  • Sector

    Education & Learning

  • Key Lyons contacts

    Adrian Stanic

  • Collaborators

    Aspect Studios (landscape architects)

  • Client

    Australian Catholic University

  • Location

    115 Victoria Parade Fitzroy

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people

  • Size

    18,000 square metres

  • Project status

    Complete, 2023

Designing the future of higher education

The Saint Teresa of Kolkata (STK) building is rich with state of the art facilities to accommodate future growth, as well as amenities that facilitate social and recreational activities. Below ground, a seven level basement provides car parking, bicycle parking and a series of back of house and end of trip facilities for staff and students. The main entry is a wide ramped stone clad entry with large glazed windows above to reveal the student life within. A highly visible student consultation area is located on the lower ground floor, signifying a welcoming and proactive environment. Critical to the vertical campus design are a series of escalators and lifts located at the centre of the building, which are able to move large numbers of students quickly and efficiently. An existing feature stair has been incorporated in the design to provide important inter-floor connectivity between teaching levels. The lower levels of the building provide a range of student focused spaces built with flexibility in mind to enable student collaboration, individual study or casual occupation.



The building is filled with flexible teaching spaces including a range of discursive theatres and team based project rooms designed to accommodate large and small group discussions. Concentrated space for student and staff collaboration is provided at the mid-levels of the building. The collegiate life of the university is supported with an array of self-serve kitchens, casual lounge areas, communal study desks, small focus rooms and larger group study rooms. The upper level Student Hub opens directly out onto a large outdoor landscaped terrace taking full advantage of the elevated views of the city and surrounding suburbs. On level 8 a rooftopa multi-sport court is provided in a fully netted enclosure along with change facilities and equipment storage.

A bright new campus: Green, open, transparent

The campus is pedestrian-focused with an abundance of open spaces, gardens and greenery throughout. The permeable and open design allows people to move easily from one side to another. The ground floor plate structure is pulled back from the façade in strategic locations providing double height voids to enable clear views between the levels and help orientate visitors to the campus. Key moments of garden and greenery are celebrated by carving out unique spaces for recreation, respite and inspiration. Multi-level terraces break up the mass of the building and provide access to gardens and fresh air – a necessary feature of the vertical campus design. An urban amphitheatre is designed as a space for informal individual and group gathering. It is also capable of holding informal lectures and speeches – a form of speaker’s corner. The highly visible space presents itself to the street and acts as a visual signifier for the activities housed within the building.

Embracing history in a modern campus

The STK design honours its faith based roots by refrencing the nearby St Patrick’s Cathedral and integrating with the historically significant Mary Glowrey Building (MGB). The Saint Teresa of Kolkata (STK) building wraps over and behind the MGB, blending historic with modern and shaping a distinct character for ACU’s campus. Key elements of the building’s façade on Victoria Parade align with the cathedral’s transept while set back corners strengthen the legibility of the MGB. A field of white shingles form a textured layer on the façade, with serrated edges reminiscent of the stamps that were once produced with in the MGB – once the Coomonwealth Note and Stamp Printing Building.. At street level the building is set back to create distinctive landscaped spaces and link the interior to the street. Clear glazing is used on the lower levels to establish site lines and help with wayfinding. A rich material palette of bluestone paving, granite and bluestone extend the dialogue between the MGB building and the streetscapes of Fitzroy. The transparency and openness of the STK Building brings direct benefits to the surrounding neighbourhood with improved foot traffic/pedestrian flow and safety, and publicly accessible green spaces.

Key Contacts

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