Macquarie University is one of Australia’s leading universities with a reputation for high-quality research and unique undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Located within the high-technology corridor of Sydney's northwest in close proximity to the Macquarie Park business hub and surrounding industries, the University’s main campus includes its five faculties, the Macquarie University Hospital and Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM). Set on 126 hectares of rolling lawns and natural bushland, it is also one of the largest university campuses in Australia.
In 2010, Citizen was commissioned to develop a new wayfinding strategy, naming and design solution for the University. Originally conceived in the mid-1960s as part of the masterplan developed by the University’s first architect-planner, Walter (Wally) Abraham, the scale and complexity of the existing system had become increasingly difficult for the University to manage as it grew and expanded. The University needed our help to find its way.
The idea behind our design rationale was to take the existing compass-based system and build on it. Whilst the scheme had weakened over the years it presented a globally understood language for a university with a significant international student population. Hence the references of ‘N’, ‘S’, ‘E’ and ‘W’ become strong design features within the scheme and naming system.
Inspired by the natural elements of the campus, the signage scheme juxtaposed man-made materials with natural influences, taking concrete to the wider campus and timber (referencing trees) into buildings. Intentionally neutral in its colour palette, the signage system responds not only to the campus environment, which will naturally evolve and grow, but also has a greater sense of permanence paying homage to the heritage of key Brutalist architectural examples retained in the academic core. The wayfinding and signage family designed was based around a limited number of forms to provide a sense of connection throughout the campus.
Having made the strategic decision to use a universally recognised wayfinding system with a signage scheme that rarely features the University’s identity, the design solution will have a significantly longer life span than the previous system. Despite the scale of the wayfinding and signage requirements, the limited number of forms created provided a sense of connection but also helped to reduce production costs due to the reduced number of concrete casts required.
Our scope of work included:
– Wayfinding strategy
– Signage design (interior and exterior)
– Naming strategy
– Guideline documentation
– Cost analysis
– Roll out plan