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QUT Carumba Institute, Oodgeroo Unit, Elders and Community Space

PDT were provided with the exciting opportunity to design a space for the colocation of the Carumba Institute, Oodgeroo Unit, Elders & Community Space in B Block of the QUT Garden’s Point Campus. We embarked on this culturally significant project with QUT, Blaklash (Aboriginal Design Agency specialising in First Nations Placemaking) and worked closely with renowned indigenous artists.

The design was informed by collaborative workshops and consultations, providing a bespoke response to the different end users functional requirements. The common goals between the end users formed the overarching project vision, creating a community centred education space that encourages activation, storytelling and supports the multifaceted needs of students at QUT. The concept of ‘Infinite Pathways’ was formed from discussions with Uncle Cheg (former elder-in-residence) and his lived experiences that have heavily informed the cultural framework. Fostering education, professional and social opportunities for future Indigenous Australian leaders.

The objective of the Oodgeroo Unit was to provide an engaging space for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander students to feel culturally safe and supported. This was translated into an open plan study environment, with various styles of collaborative settings, promoting cross collaboration and engagement between both students and staff. The staff area followed the same open plan methodology, Full height glazing provided the functional separation between the two spaces but maintained the visual connection between students and staff.

The Carumba Institute is research based, with a focus on providing national leaders a space to complete research and student support. The Carumba Institute operates 24/7 and requires a private, safe and focused environment. The design response for the Carumba Institute, offers different work and study settings that promote various levels of focused work. This includes quiet rooms, semi-private work hubs and open plan work/study spaces.

Located centrally to the Oodgeroo Unit and Carumba Institute is the ‘community space’ which is home to the Elders Lounge, communal meeting rooms, kitchen and break out area. The community space is to encourage serendipitous interactions between different groups.

To reconnect the Botanic Gardens that hold cultural significance to the local Indigenous community, the existing windows were increased in size to maximise natural light and vistas out to the gardens. Part of the existing façade was removed, and an outdoor balcony was introduced, blurring the lines of indoor and outdoor community space. The outdoor balcony which is referred to as ‘the deck’ is nestled in the beautiful tree canopies, reconnecting the users back to the Botanic Gardens.

PDT are proud to have been a part of this wonderful journey.

For further details on the significance of the site, please refer to our Indetail Article -


Queensland University of Technology

Kelvin Grove, Brisbane





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