ANU announces $80 million upgrade for School of Art and Design

ANU announces $80 million upgrade for School of Art and Design

The Australian National University (ANU) will create an exciting new space for 21st century art and design, with a multimillion dollar upgrade of the School of Art and Design.   

The $80+ million project will revolutionise the way the two disciplines are delivered at ANU as well as spaces for students, staff and artists.  

The project includes the refurbishment of the historic and heritage-listed School of Art and Design building, as well as the construction of a new two-storey building next to the to the city.

The new building and facelift of the art deco former Canberra High School will create an internationally competitive facility and feature large multi-purpose spaces for artists.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt AC said the ANU School of Art and Design has long been a big part of Canberra’s cultural life and he was excited by the multimillion dollar project and what it would deliver.

“The original building is a favourite of many Canberrans. Being the custodians of a heritage building such as this is an enormous responsibility,” Professor Schmidt said.

“Through a careful design process we will be ensuring that its heritage is maintained at the same time as creating state-of-the-art teaching and learning spaces, work spaces and galleries.

“The new building and upgrade to the existing building will foster the best in art and design teaching, research and practice, and make sure ANU remains a world-leader in these important disciplines.  

“At the completion of this project we will also have created a significant cultural gateway between ANU and the local Canberra community which will inspire, delight and draw-in the community.”     

Planning for the project will begin in 2020, with construction to commence in 2023 and finish by 2025.

Head of the School of Art and Design, Professor Denise Ferris said the new building will put ANU on a par with major national and international competitors.

"The ANU School of Art and Design collaborates in research and education across the University, and has a vital role in Australia’s art and design sector– it is the only school in Australia with all traditional disciplines as well as those in new technologies,” Professor Ferris said.

“The refurbishment is the first for the School in almost 50 years, and will bring it in-line with the highest standards across the globe. It will change everything we do at ANU -- including the way we do them and what we can do.

“This is not only a major investment in ANU and the School, but in Canberra and the local region’s cultural sector. 

“It is the biggest opportunity in many years for the next generation of artists, designers and researchers, as well as our all many collaborators from across the University, Canberra, Australia and the rest of the world.”

To arrange interviews, contact James Giggacher on 0436 803 488 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or at  

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Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

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