Wednesday, December 09, 2015

UQ landmark to undergo dramatic refurbishment

Queensland judicial leaders tried their hands as graffiti artists at the University of Queensland’s landmark Forgan Smith building recently to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the building’s history.

The building houses the TC Beirne School of Law, which is set for a dramatic refurbishment to begin in January.

University of Queensland Forgan Smith Building
UQ Forgan Smith building today
The graffiti—recording fun and fond memories of the school’s alumni and students—was a symbolic farewell to the walls that have contained the hopes and dreams of about 10,000 law students over the past 66 years.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said the 12-month refurbishment would be an exciting rejuvenation of the historic building to bring it into line with the world’s best contemporary education facilities.

“The aim is to improve the student experience by creating a place of light, learning and collaboration, incorporating the latest technology and facilities,” he said.

“The rejuvenation will not affect the beautiful and historic sandstone façade, but will see a dramatic re-modelling of the internal space to create a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility befitting our law school’s ranking among the top 50 in the world.”

Historic features such as the magnificent red cedar-panelled Moot Court—previously Brisbane’s Supreme Court—would be preserved and re-installed in the remodelled facility.

Professor Høj said the significant cost of the work would be met by a combination of university capital works funding and philanthropic donations, much like the way the university and its alumni almost three decades ago came together to bring Customs House back to its rightful glory for the ongoing benefit of both the university and indeed Brisbane.

Head of School and Dean of Law Professor Sarah Derrington said the new space was designed to support a major refocusing of the UQ Law School and would provide a dynamic and inspiring environment for students and teachers.

“Teaching in today’s world is a stimulating, interactive and ever-evolving experience,” she said. “In addition, the legal workplace is changing, with more collaborative work practices between younger lawyers and their senior colleagues.

“The new space will include collaborative research spaces and break-out rooms, independent study areas, and facilities for mobile technology, innovative learning, research and academic facilities.”

University of Queensland
Artist’s impression of the Forgan Smith refurbishment (Image credit: UQ)

Professor Derrington said philanthropic support would also be sought to establish an endowed scholarship fund.

“As part of the school restructure, we are deliberately reducing our first-year intake to no more than 250 of the best and brightest students, and we are providing them with innovative programs, collaborative learning opportunities and excellent student-to-teacher ratios,” she said.

“One of the major hurdles for financially disadvantaged students is the cost of living while undertaking a full-time degree.

“An endowed scholarship fund will enable our school to offer students scholarships that alleviate the imperative to work to survive.”

The rejuvenation, which has been more than a year in the planning, has been designed by BVN Architecture under the guidance of heritage architect Andrew Ladlay.

University of Queensland Law School Bachelor of Laws program

Program: Graduate-entry Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 3 years

Entry Requirements
To be eligible to apply to the Bachelor of Laws (graduate entry), you must have the following:
  • Completed or be completing an undergraduate degree
  • Achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average (cGPA) of 75%
It is recommended that you apply for the UQ Law School’s LLB program if you have achieved a minimum cGPA of 75%, as above. Please note that this is a minimum average to be eligible to apply and that your application outcome will be determined by the university. Each applicant’s average is calculated over all years of university study. LSAT is not required for entry.

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