Sign the Petition: Robb College
by Michael Dysart, University of New England, Armidale, Australia, 1960-1964
DATE: 18/3/2019
After a long campaing advocating for the preservation of the Robb College, University of New England, demolition works have started in the begining of this year in the three accomodation courts. 

Duncan Gibbs, who started the petition "SAVE ROBB COLLEGE U.N.E. Michael Dysart´s Modernist Gem", has made the communication of these developments, adding that:

"The UNE have at least followed through in their promise to restore the dining hall and have started doing so. The fight is now to ensure the dining hall is placed onto the State Heritage Register as well as have the three accomodation courts replaced with exemplar architecture and landscape architecture that recognises the Oxbridge Quad model, so supremely expressed by Michael Dysart´s now destroyed buildings."

The Robb College, University of New England, was built between 1958-1964 and designed by Michael Dysart. The building is considered to be "of cultural heritage significance for the local area and university fraternity.
Robb College, University of New England, Armidale, has aesthetic and social significance identified as the first modernist college built to follow the design of the traditionalist Oxford quadrangle form."

"Robb College is one of the first modernist college buildings to be erected on a university campus outside of Sydney. The use of the traditional quadrangle form widely employed for university colleges shows a renewed interest in the use of the Oxbridge model, rather than the American type campus planning of isolated buildings set in parklands.

The design is significant as one of a series of highly individual university buildings designed by the NSW Government Architect’s branch in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It is also a significant example of the work of Michael Dysart.

The building illustrates a high degree of aesthetic significance through the use of standardised mass produced elements carefully arranged to achieve variations in the structure and courtyard and as a result cost saving through economy of scale.
The buildings’ social significance is expressed through the modern interpretation of the traditional courtyard and quadrangle akin to the Oxford model, and through the use of austerity in materials and importance of transparency and connection through the displacement and interconnection of spaces.

We are asking that the UNE save $14 million in demolition and rebuilding costs, and follow the recommendation of the NSW National Trust, which has estimated the cost of retaining and refurbishing Robb College to be fit for 300 students at only $7 million. 

We are also imploring the UNE to respect the opinions of the NSW chapters of the National Trust and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and Docomomo, as well as note that the NSW Heritage Council has ceased action to list Robb College only due to procedural based issues. 

Robb College is a significant and valuable example of Australian Modernism at its best and deserves protection, restoration and sympathetic additions."

More details: website

Sign the public petition: here