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FAQ’s – University House extended closure

Information about the University House extended closure

Update 6 November 2023

On Monday 20 January 2020, Canberra experienced a destructive hailstorm which resulted in extensive building damage at the ANU Acton campus, with most buildings impacted, including University House. The subsequent, and otherwise welcome, rain of 9-10 February caused substantial further water ingress.

The storm and rain damaged the roof, electrical circuits, and disabled the fire system of University House. Many public rooms, hotel and student rooms, and some service areas also suffered hail or water damage. The scale of repairs, coordination with the refurbishments that were to begin in 2020, and the need for heritage and building code compliance, together mean an extended period of repair and refurbishment.

The University is fully committed to reopening University House, and extensive repairs are now underway. Reopening is scheduled for September 2025. When it reopens, the renewed University House will again be a showpiece of mid-20th century design, and restored as a campus and Canberra icon.

Is there any damage to the interior of the Great Hall, Scarth and Stanner Rooms, Common and Drawing Rooms, and Library?

There are varying levels of water ingress to each of these public rooms. The Hall and Scarth Rooms were most impacted by water, but the damage is repairable. There is only minor water ingress in the other rooms.

Is there any damage to the artwork collection at University House?

No. The entire artwork collection, including the Hall mural “Regeneration”, has been relocated while repairs take place. Sculptures in the grounds will be protected during this period. We thank our colleagues at the Drill Hall Gallery for their assistance with the care and relocation of the collection.

How many resident students are impacted by the University House closure?

University House was home to a community of 66 PhD students living in the Garden and South Wings. They were relocated to various locations. The reopened University House will again provide student accommodation.

Are the grounds of University House still accessible? Are Fellows Bar or Boffins still open?

Unfortunately, all areas of University House will remain closed for repairs until reopening. In the meantime, we have relocated Events to University House@Rimmer (3 Rimmer St, on the ground floor under Lena Karmel Lodge, opposite Toad Hall). Fellows@Law Cafe is open Monday – Friday 9am-2pm; and Symposium Wine Bar @ Kambri is open Tuesday – Friday 12pm-8pm. We will keep you updated through the ANU On Campus newsletter, websites, emails and social media.

What about accommodation or event bookings during the closure period?

We have negotiated accommodation concessional rates for University House, at participating hotels in Canberra. For more information, please contact our team during business hours via 02 6125 5211 or accommodation.unihouse@anu.edu.au.

Events were relocated to University House@Rimmer. For more information, please contact our team during business hours via 02 6125 5270 or events.unihouse@anu.edu.au.

I’m a Member of University House. What will happen to my membership during the period of closure?

We will continue membership but waive membership fees for the closure period. Members will continue to enjoy offsite benefits, such as reciprocal rights at our partner clubs.

I love University House. Is there anything I can do to help?

Yes, you can help in a number of ways! ANU has established a “Friends of University House” Fund, to which you can make a tax-deductible donation; any contribution, large or small, will enhance restoration beyond the insurance-funded repairs. If you’re not already a member of University House, you can join our membership list so we can keep you informed and involve you in discussions about our Recovery Plan. And you can join us at the relocated  Fellows@Law Cafe  in the College of Law precinct., or at Symposium at Kambri.

Will University House still cater for events while they are closed?

We can cater for and host events from our temporary location University House@Rimmer (3 Rimmer St, on the ground floor under Lena Karmel Lodge (opposite Toad Hall). Our current operation hours are Monday to Friday (excluding Public Holidays).

We also provide Out-Catering services on campus and our team will work with you, to create a package suited to your needs and budget.

Are the Molly Huxley carpark and other parking adjacent to University House accessible?

No. The Molly Huxley carpark and other parking adjacent to University House have been closed.

How can I stay informed about progress towards reopening?

We’ll update this page at least every six months, or when there’s significant news. We’ll also update the ANU campus community through On Campus, and University House Members directly.

Please email or call us with any questions or enquiries: marketing.unihouse@anu.edu.au or 02 6125 5211.