University of Papua New Guinea

New Lecture Theatre

Location: Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Client: DFAT / Technical Enabling Unit / University of Papua New Guniea
Status: Completed 2017


Working in partnership with Peddle Thorp Architects JCA were appointed by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the Technical Enabling Unit (TEU) to prepare a precinct  masterplan and final building designs as part of the Australian Government funded Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct. This project involves the completion of 3 new buildings within the grounds of the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) Waigani Campus. The 3 projects include the School of Business and Public Policy (SBPP), new Student Services Building and a new 400 seat Lecture Theatre. The project reflects an MoU between the GoPNG and GoA to establish a Pacific Leadership and Governance Precinct in PNG to support public sector education and training promoting over time increased transparency within the government sector, better understanding of policy and a more open and engaging bureaucracy. When complete the facility will enable the delivery of a wide range of education and training programs allowing increased partnership with Australia and offering increased leadership qualities and skills of future PNG officials. The School of Business and Public Policy and new Lecture Theatre are located within the green belt of the UPNG Campus. This is made meaningful by enabling the landscape to permeate the experience of the buildings. Key existing vistas and sightlines are preserved through framed views between and through buildings while existing garden pathways are strengthened and enhanced by sympathetic building edges.

This sophisticated tropical building embraces both the culture and climate exploring a contmpoery PNG architecture through large parasol roofs providing deep shade and protection from monsoonal rains to external spaces. These spaces are at a generous scale that celebrate student gathering and promote ventilation. Sun screens are also used across these projects to protect against morning and afternoon sun. Their shadow effects are used decoratively to create distinct architectural forms that capture the expression and form of each building. The designs have been developed to compliment the very distinct architecture of the existing building fabric in particular the work by the celebrated Australian architect James Birrell. The use of concrete reinforces this but also as a material benefits the buildings both thermally and robustly. The theatre has been designed to offer a contemporary university space but one understanding of its location and sense of place.This was a fundamental desire of DFAT as the funders of the project to offer UPNG learning environments that reflect more contemporary examples in Australia and encourage a greater use of technology as a teaching tool that would enable staff and students to not only work more efficiently but also open doors to allowing UPNMG better partnerships on a more global level through increased connectivity. This is seen as fundamental to the SBPP’s ability to deliver better and more capable professionals at the completion of their respective degrees.