Even so, we are also well aware that some of the structures on our campus are less than lovely — some would go so far as to say “eyesores”. We are doing our best to rectify that, and our long-term Campus Improvement Plan will see the overall aspect of the University change for the better.
You might have noticed that there is demolition work going on at the campus at the moment. The building we are removing might well win the prize as ugliest on campus … certainly it would not be winning any awards for architecture! The “Transient Building”, however, has been incredibly important in the history of the University.
At the beginning of World War II, the University had 3,500 students. In 1945, enrolment numbers were at just under 5,000, but after the War, the government introduced the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme, enabling returned ex-servicemen to receive support during their education. Numbers at the University jumped to 10,779 in 1948. There was a desperate shortage of space for the students, and it was during this period that the “temporary” Transient Building was erected.
Although the initial post-war rush dissipated, numbers of students have continued to climb steadily and the University has always needed the space provided by temporary buildings, which have also included the “demountable village” we have moved around campus whenever necessary. And, ironically, its many occupants have included architecture students who apparently found it more functional that other purpose-built structures.
All transient things must come to an end, and, nearly 70 years since it was earmarked as temporary, the University commenced work to be rid of the Transient Building in December 2015. We anticipate the space will be cleared at around the time of the students’ return to campus in early March 2016.
The good news is, not only will we lose the ugliest building on campus, but we will gain some open space, with the site to be landscaped for the enjoyment of all who wander through our grounds. It’s a very positive start to 2016.