The Old Quad made new again

By Sophie Suelzle, MLS Digital Communications Officer

The oldest, most significant building on the University of Melbourne’s Parkville Campus – and the early home of Melbourne Law School – has reopened its doors to the public after a significant restoration.

After a three-year closure, the Old Quad was officially reopened earlier this year by MLS alumna and Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau (LLB(Hons) ’73).

The extensive renovation saw the 160-year-old North Wing restored to its 19th century footprint and heritage design features (albeit with a few modern touches).

With work overseen by the Lovell Chen heritage architecture team, the restoration included architectural and interior alterations, conservation of fabric and details, and the updating of all building services.

The floors have been restored to their 1856 levels, removing the second floor and creating a high-ceilinged and inviting space on the first floor. The ground floor, now open to the public on weekdays, houses exhibitions in a purpose-built gallery. The Library, University Hall and other meeting rooms are accommodated on the first floor and reserved for special events.

A beautiful new addition to the Old Quad is a five-metre tall stained-glass window by artists Tom Nicholson and Geoffrey Wallace. Titled ‘Towards a glass monument’, the work took inspiration from drawings by Arthur Bartholomew (1833-1909) and Ludwig Becker (1808-1861) of natural forms surrounding the North Wing of the Old Quad. The piece is exhibited in the foyer, welcoming guests who enter through the new northern entrance.

Throughout its history, the Old Quad has reflected the evolving requirements and identity of the University of Melbourne. This recent restoration ensures the iconic building will remain a space for students, staff and alumni to meet, learn and celebrate for years to come.

Banner image: The restored Library.

Credit: Christian Capurro.

This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 22, November 2019