A student village that harnesses its bushland surrounds

Yukeembruk ANU

Yukeembruk, ANU’s newest student village, harnesses the natural beauty of its site.


The collection of six buildings sit respectfully in their surrounds, anchored by Black Mountain, Sullivans Creek and the mature Eucalypts and understory of Acton’s bushland. They also create a new residential hub for 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students that connects the southwest corner of ANU to Kambri, its heart at the centre of campus.

We intentionally designed the buildings to sit respectfully in the landscape. Two undergraduate halls and two smaller postgraduate halls are organised around a new community building and a central spine; two bike storage facilities, a basketball half-court and green complete the village. The undergraduate buildings vary between 5-7 storeys, while the postgraduate buildings are smaller in scale. All step in form and height to break down massing and façade repetition, and to help light reach deep into the plan. We expressed the ends in full height glazing to bring activity to the street and reduce overlooking.

Primary materials of brick, concrete, aluminium and glass are durable and require minimal maintenance. Timber has been used sparingly—on soffits and balustrades—to ensure longevity. We chose restrained colours to avoid competing with the landscape and so that the buildings are cohesive, both across the site and with the wider campus. All materials and colours are honestly expressed but create visual diversity through clever design. For example, each of the buildings has a darker brick base and lighter tone upper levels to evoke the contrast between the landscape’s understory and canopy.

The majority of the village’s communal spaces are located at ground. The undergraduate halls feature two masterchef-style kitchens and dining areas each, for resident use. The kitchens anchor the ends of the u-shaped plans; large common rooms and an outdoor BBQ terrace link the ends.

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At the site’s centre is a one-storey communal building. It is fully glazed on three sides and opens onto the village green and the central spine to make it easily accessible. Inside, it functions like a community hall, with a long-span dining room and flexible space for lectures and gatherings occupying most of its space. At night it glows from inside, creating a beacon that’s emblematic of Yukeembruk’s role as a village within ANU.



Australian National University


Canberra | Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country






24,065 sqm


  • Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) ACT, Winner Residential Architecture - Multiple Housing Award, 2024


Tom Roe, Felix Mooneeram