UNSW Electrical Engineering Building

The University of New South Wales faced a stark choice when it came to this 1960s building at the centre of their eastern Sydney campus.

Should they renovate – or detonate? 

On the one hand, the Electrical Engineering Building (EEB) had good bones and sentimental appeal as the original home of one of Australia’s top engineering schools.

But the building was also a little stuck in time. It didn’t have the infrastructure or spaces to support the latest teaching and research methods in the field, or the design to truly connect the building and its users to surrounding areas of the campus.

In the end, the university decided to bring the past into the future with the help of Hassell’s design team.

A thoughtful revival turned the EEB into a more adaptable and sustainable building for the next generation of engineers – a lively, hard-working place that’s engineered’ for the inevitable changes to come over the next 40 years. 

The building has an additional 10% floor area efficiency, much more natural daylight and a lower environmental footprint, including through generating renewable energy. Its state-of-the-art teaching, learning and research spaces include Australia’s first quantum engineering teaching lab and the country’s largest lab for research paving the way for electric vehicles and other energy-efficient innovations.

The EEB also has an amphitheatre for informal outdoor learning, an accessible rooftop for students and staff, and roomy bay windows and arcades that open up the building’s outdated interiors.

Now this 60s classic is really earning its place at one of the critical junctions on campus.


University of New South Wales


Bedegal Country
Sydney, Australia






14, 200sqm GFA

Design team

Mark Roehrs, Matthew Todd, Nathan Humphries, Mark Craig, Michael White, Ellie Badeleh, Andrew Hite, Alena Minavea, Kelie Roach, Arun Agranat, Tom De Plater, Luke Smith

It’s a world-class building from many perspectives. It reflects how we see ourselves, which is fantastic. This is a major confidence boost for the school.”

Professor Julien Epps Head of School, Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications, UNSW

The student-led spaces - from the ground floor all the way up to level four - are completely active. The building seems to be the go to’ spot in the middle of campus.”

Shane McLoughlin Senior Project Manager, Estate Management, UNSW
55+ New teaching and research labs
40+ Years of extended life for building
10% Greater efficiency in usable floor area

The building’s sustainable design features include:

  • targeted energy efficiency 15% above building code requirements
  • 5 to 6 star WELS-rated water fixtures, and 
  • at least 50% certified sustainable furniture, flooring, finishes and timber.

Our concept was all about revealing what happens in and around the EEB through transparency, materiality and light.

  • Transparency: We varied the level and nature of transparency to accentuate context, function or activity within the building.
  • Materiality: We celebrated the EEB’s original character through a cohesive palette and complementary new elements.
  • Light: We modulated transparency and views to enhance the play of natural light throughout the building.
  • 2019 Excellence in Construction, Tertiary Buildings ($75 to $100 M), Master Builders Association of New South Wales
  • 2020 New South Wales Architecture Awards - Award for Educational Architecture

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