New academic building Boola Katitjin sets global benchmark for sustainability and innovative teaching technology
In an Australian first, students at Murdoch University will be able to see, talk and collaborate with classmates anywhere in the world via Technology Enabled Learning (TEL) desks installed at its new Boola Katitjin building.
Murdoch’s transformational new building officially opened today, signalling a new chapter for the institution as it embraces world-leading technology and sustainable design to create a new heart at its Perth campus.
Boola Katitjin, which translates to “lots of learning” in Noongar, will amplify the Murdoch experience with new places to learn, study and socialise, while reflecting the University’s commitment to both in-person and online learning.
The building also connects to the University’s 2023–2030 strategy Building a Brighter Future, Together – Ngala Kwop Biddi, reflecting the three pillars of Sustainability; Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; and becoming the University of first choice for First Nations people.
Boola Katitjin was officially opened today by Murdoch Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Deeks and International Education Minister David Templeman MLA.
Professor Deeks said the building would accommodate up to 60% of the University’s teaching requirements across 16,000m2, extending up to four storeys high and 180 metres in length, and creating a new connection between Discovery Way and Bush Court.
“Boola Katitjin will offer a digital rich learning environment that uses Australian-first technology and flexible class formats to allow for more innovative teaching approaches and greater engagement with the community and industry,” Professor Deeks said.
“It reflects the University’s commitment to sustainability – with Boola Katitjin designed to achieve the internationally recognised 6-star Green Star rating through a range of features including solar panels, stormwater harvesting, active design features and native landscaping.
“The name Boola Katijin was given by Dr Richard Walley, who has a long association with Murdoch. The Beeliar Wetlands around the University have been place of learning for thousands of years and we are proud to be adapting to the future of education to continue this tradition.
“I thank the University’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group for not only gifting us the building’s name, but also guiding the University on its digital engagement strategy, including some of the building’s beautiful artistic elements.”
Following today’s formal ceremony, Minister Templeman witnessed a demonstration of the innovative technology-enabled learning capability of Boola Katitjin, with Murdoch students working with academics at Murdoch’s Singapore campus.
“Through the Australia-first technology in Boola Katitjin, domestic and onshore international students will work seamlessly alongside their peers and academics based overseas,” Professor Deeks said.
“In addition, our Digital Immersive Lab includes high performance PC's for stock market simulation and gaming usage and one of the largest collections of Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality headsets in WA.
“We believe these capabilities represent the future of teaching and learning, and we are excited to see these technologies deployed into practice for the benefit of our academics and our students.”
Boola Katitjin will also raise the bar when it comes to mindfulness and connection when it opens for Semester 1 in two weeks’ time.
Along with the building’s unique timber design that will bring the outdoors in, the walls, hallways, elevators, and escalators of Boola Katiitjin will be used to display a range of audio, video and interactive artworks.
Boola Katitjin has pushed engineering boundaries to become the largest timber building in Western Australia – with 1,796 pieces of Mass Engineered Timber used across the building’s structural system.
The building will open to staff and students from the start of Semester One.
- 21 large flat-floor format teaching and learning spaces, technology-rich labs, and immersive industry collaboration facilities.
- Extensive areas for informal ‘peer to peer’ learning, workspaces for staff, student services and a series of innovative research and industry engagement spaces.
- Universal accessibility and inclusive design including lifts, ramps, and shaded walkways, plus all gender amenities, changing places and parents’ rooms.
- Three new food and beverage outlets.
- New Student Central services with online Q-less functionality.
- 450kw solar panel array, estimated to produce over 60% of the building’s operational energy requirements at peak conditions.
- Active design features such as raised access floor systems with HVAC from below, energy efficient LED lighting used throughout with occupancy detection and natural lighting detection devices.
- Stormwater harvesting tank for reuse back in the building for grey water uses. Excess stormwater collection will recharge groundwater through a large infiltration tank.
- Landscaping plans allow for more than 26,000 native plants to be installed around the building.