University of Adelaide Common Teaching Areas

This interior redevelopment creates fun, hardworking breakout zones and flexible contemporary learning spaces.

We refurbished three engineering lecture theatres, and we transformed a dingy claustrophobic basement into an intriguing place for informal learning that encourages students to study on campus.


Our interior design contains myriad historical and contemporary references. The breakout area, (inspired by the idea of a newly discovered ruin beneath the Barr Smith Library) is divided by crumbly-edged walls into a series of booths.

We have used the enclosed quality of the space to create a vivid imaginary world where you feel all the more immersed because it is windowless and subterranean.

The ruin has various rooms—a vestibule, a conservatory, a parlour—which form the different zones of the space.


There is a sky-blue floor in lieu of views to the real sky. There is a Persian-rug style banquette and wallpapers evoking places from idyllic Versailles-esque garden courtyards to tiled subways.

In the learning spaces, we improved the acoustics, technology and seating to ensure they are enjoyable and adaptable for various modes of contemporary learning.

Before and after: we refurbished this lecture theatre in the Engineering South building into what we call the Atmosphere Room (below).

The Atmosphere Room was inspired by connections to engineering and space travel. The single silver chair is in honour of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas, a Faculty of Engineering alumnus.

The Earth Room (also in Engineering South) has wallpaper that reflects the mineral energies of the oversized rocks on the carpet. We imagined rocks and minerals in a much more ephemeral state than engineers do.