Journalism School


The new headquarters for The Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas is a unique commercial project that has been thoughtfully designed and constructed to promote and support and celebrate quality journalism and storytelling around the world.

The site contained two buildings; one heritage terrace styled building and a more contemporary corner building. The heritage building was retained and restored whilst the contemporary building was demolished for a new building, which is sympathetic to the conservation and historical streetscape.

The new arrangement of the buildings boasts a formal lecture theatre, entertaining and presentation spaces, open plan office areas, creative spaces, and several meeting facilities. A dramatic central stair connects all levels, and a custom lift provides an alternative vertical access way.

The building was designed by leading Australian Architect Tzannes and comprises bespoke features including.

  • Lecture room with a class 5 set curved plaster ceiling, 12mm thick custom brass and precast concrete curved window wall and 3.6 x 2.2m, high resolution LED wall.
  • 12mm thick brass plate shopfront.
  • Natural granite floor and wall stone finishes throughout bathrooms.
  • Custom made granite basins carved from a single granite block.
  • Solid and veneered American Oak joinery and bespoke furniture.
  • Solid bronze detailing to interior elements.
  • 25mm thick curved glazing on the south-east corner façade of the upper floors.
  • Custom made Italian curved face brick façade.
  • Custom designed and made brass garage door with a weight of 1.3 tonnes.
  • Combination of solid bronze plate and brass panelling to awning structure on the corner of Myrtle and Abercrombie Street.
  • Bespoke steel frame internal partitions with curved glass; and
  • Specialised lighting plus a photovoltaic renewable element

Structurally, the project presented multiple challenges from a design and construction perspective. Many off form finishes were desired by the client and designers and custom formwork was developed to achieve these finishes. The site was very restricted from a spatial perspective, and this required careful planning to ensure that quality was maintained for the exposed structural elements.

The new roof to the contemporary building has a compounding curve and feature transition to the façade junction. The soffit is exposed class 1 concrete, and all thermal performance occurs on top of the concrete form.

The completed project showcases the beautiful, restored heritage features of the existing building. Original elements such as the lift motor assembly, timber trusses and beams are exposed, the original building signage and historical fabric were all restored and now provide the feature of the heritage building. The old and new meet seamlessly and complement each other in this amazing, inspiring, and unique development.

The project was crowned the joint winner at the 2021 MBA Excellence in Construction Awards in the category of Commercial Buildings (Up to $50,000,000).

Photography: Ben Guthrie, Martin Mischkulnig