"We can’t wipe the smile off our faces every time we show anyone through the building"
Cassianne Martin, Deputy Director, Monash Residential Services

Monash University Student Housing

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Monash University
42 College Walk, Clayton VIC 3168, Australia
July 2010 - December 2011
Briefing Completion, Schematic Design, Design Development, Contract Documentation, Contract Administration under a D&C arrangement

20,810m² GFA


Setting a new Australian benchmark in student accommodation, the Monash University Student Housing project is designed to create a collegiate environment that fosters a sense of community whilst catering to individual needs.

The development comprises of two five-storey buildings, each containing 300 studios. The buildings flank a common central courtyard which provides a communal space and serves as the entry to each building. Shared break out spaces, common rooms and vertical circulation are located in the centre of each building. Two wings each of thirty studios per floor are attached to this central zone encouraging interaction among students as they travel through the building. Studios are 20m2, containing a kitchenette, separate ensuite and sleeping/ living/ study zone. Operable floor to ceiling windows and exposed 2.7 metre high ceilings contribute to the sense of spaciousness and amenity in the studio design.

Designed and built within a tight 18 month program, the project represents a robust, economic design without compromising quality and pastoral care. Monash University Student Housing was the first to achieve a 5 star Green Star Multi-Unit Residential rating, with a range of ESD initiatives including one of the largest solar arrays in the southern hemisphere. It was also the first NRAS Funded Student Housing Project in Australia.


IDEA Multi Residential Award
RAIA Frederick Romberg Award for Residential Architecture
RAIA VIC Multiple Residential Architecture Award
RIBA International Award
TDA Multi Residential New Buildings Runner Up

Brief Elements

  • 600 beds
  • 20m² studios including ensuites and kitchenettes
  • Cohorts of 30 students with shared meeting space and group kitchenette
  • Shared large common rooms and games rooms


  • First NRAS (National Rental Affordability Scheme) funded student housing project in Australia
  • Addresses local and international desire for self-contained accommodation instead of dormitory model
  • Student cohorts of 30 rooms stacked around either side of central circulation nexus, encouraging interaction and ensuring no student is ‘unseen’
  • Double height common spaces (large informal rooms) located centrally around the open stair and vertical circulation, connecting all levels and creating a community of students
  • Withstanding a D&C process that sought to achieve savings throughout the project; simplicity of design allowed for prefabrication/modularity including joinery and standard façade units (timber and glass)
  • Simplified, robust finishes and detailing (polished concrete, exposed ceilings) to ensure that the bigger picture was delivered


Donald Cant Watts Corke (DCWC)
Project Manager
Bonacci Group
Structural Engineer
WT Partnership
Quantity Surveyor
Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architecture
Landscape Architects
Norman Disney Young (NDY)
Acoustic Consultant, Services Engineer and ESD Consultant
PLP Building Surveyors & Consultants
Building Surveyor
Broad APM