RMIT University has been progressively rebuilding its main city campus as part of a sustained transformation of both its building stock and its open spaces. Founded in 1885, RMIT occupies a pivotal location on the civic axis at the top end of Swanston Street in central Melbourne. Overtime RMIT has grown beyond a single city block and spread out to become an ad-hoc piece of the city. The central campus had progressively developed into a disparate collection of isolated buildings and degraded spaces with little cohesion or connection to the city around it.
In the 1990’s the University began a radical process of transformation, commissioning adventurous new architecture and progressively rebuilding the campus with startling results. What was once a gated and inward looking campus was suddenly opened up and connected the city. All the cars were removed along with the gates and fences and a new and vibrant urban environment was created.
The transformation of the campus was overseen through the Urban Spaces Project which began in 1995. The plan was to rebuild all the open space on the campus in a staged process that has taken nearly 2 decades to complete. What was a cacophony of cluttered streets, laneways, dead-ends and hidden courts, is now a pedestrian-friendly campus of visual delight and interest.